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Another way to enjoy the total eclipse: Live music, beer and the river

Get out your total eclipse calendars and add another cool event: “Solar Fest West – A Total Eclipse in the Park.”

West Columbia announced it’s hosting an eclipse viewing festival from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 21 at the riverwalk amphitheater.

It will feature live music by local bands Seventy Six and Sunny (oh, how aptly named) and Prettier than Matt, free eclipse viewing glasses, food trucks, a beer garden, education stations to learn more about the eclipse, Pelican’s SnoBalls, face painting, balloon art, cooling stations and a photo booth with a custom eclipse background.

Columbia is expected to be one of the best viewing spots in the country for the rare total eclipse. The sun will go dark for 2 minutes and 36 seconds shortly after 2:30 p.m. Aug. 21.

Numerous events are planned to celebrate the occasion, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the Columbia area. In addition to the West Columbia festival, others include:

State Museum

The State Museum has a big day planned, which includes an appearance by S.C. native and Apollo 16 astronaut Gen. Charles Duke. Visitors get access to the reserved common area outside the museum for viewing the eclipse; solar eclipse viewing glasses; astronomy and space exhibits; eclipse education pop-up stations and tours; access to a Planetarium eclipse show; access to the Boeing Observatory; and more.

Columbia Fireflies

The Columbia Fireflies will have a “Total Eclipse of the Park” game and viewing event during the eclipse. The Fireflies will play at 1:05 p.m., with a STEM Festival featuring Columbia business leaders with interactive booths set up to teach kids about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math begins at 10 a.m. The game will pause at 2:41 p.m. for the eclipse and visitors will be given eclipse glasses.

S.C. State Fairgrounds

Total Eclipse Tailgate at the S.C. State Fairgrounds is an eclipse party. There will be parking, entertainment, food concessions and a limited number of viewing glasses from the city of Columbia. Visitors can purchase advance single-day parking spots for cars, buses and RVs in the fairgrounds parking lot, which will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. A limited number of parking spots will be available for purchase the day of the event at the entry gates. www.scstatefair.org

Historic Columbia

Historic Columbia’s Historic Eclipse in the Gardens will feature an expansive outdoor area for eclipse viewing, live music and children’s entertainment from Pears 4 Bears, hands-on kids’ activities and more. And here’s a plus – misting stations will be onsite to help you stay cool. Free eclipse viewing glasses will be available along with food and drink for purchase. Historic Columbia also has a number of great weekend activities, including a balloon battle.

On the water

▪ Dreher Island State Park will have presentations, food trucks, kayak rentals and more.

▪ Solar 17 at Lake Murray offers lakeside viewing of the eclipse on both sides of the Lake Murray dam. Pay normal park fees ($3 per car, $2 motorcycles, $5 buses) and get free solar glasses and water. The event is 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

▪ Saluda Shoals also offers an on-the-river viewing opportunity. Park Rangers will guide a group along the lower Saluda River to a viewing area on the river. After the eclipse, the group will slowly make its way back down the river through some of Columbia’s most scenic natural areas.

Saluda Shoals park

The Eclipse Extravaganza at Saluda Shoals is a family event with eclipse-themed games, activities, crafts and exhibits. Young scientists can do unique hands-on solar experiments. Everyone attending will receive a pair of eclipse glasses and a one-of-a-kind Eclipse Snow Cone. Local NASA solar system ambassador Larry Metcalf will be on hand to help guide you through the event.

Find other eclipse events at www.totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com.

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