Mt. Vernon will be buzzing with thousands of visitors passing through to witness the solar eclipse. Hotels are booked and businesses are preparing for the influx of visitors. With extra traffic through our region, Totality Fest provides several events for visitors and residents alike to participate in during this weekend.
Totality Fest kicks off on Thursday, the 17th with Cedarhurst’s Thursday Night Live, featuring music by Moonbeam Lane, from 5- 8 p.m. The event is free but food concessions from Rare Chop House will be available to purchase. The Cash Bar will be open with drink special, Howl at the Moon. The evening will also feature solar eclipse themed activities.
Friday, the 18th, brings a host of events to attend. Friday’s Food & Art will be held at the outdoor Broadway Market located at 205 S. 7th St. from 4- 8 p.m. Attendees can shop from crafts and foods, enjoy local beer and wine, and listen to local band, The Morels, play from 5- 8 p.m. Free inflatables and other kid’s activities will be available. Cedarhurst will hold a Pre-Eclipse Blackout at The Happening from 7- 11 p.m. Admission is $5 for non-Cedarhurst members and you must be 18 years or older to attend. A cash bar and food concessions by The Frosty Mug will be available. At 7:30 p.m., Dr. Kenneth Sembach, Director of the Space Science Institute, will present on Seeing the Unseen: Special Views of the Universe. The Monolithic, a Pink Floyd Tribute Band, will provide live music following the program. Families can also enjoy a showing of APOLLO 13 in Veteran’s Park at 7:45 p.m. The event is free and popcorn and water will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair.
On Saturday, the 19th, at 2 p.m., Cyndee Schaffer presents Mollie’s War at the Historical Village. Listen to the story of Mollie Shaffer, a member of the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. Mollie frequently wrote home to tell about her experiences, and her daughter, Cyndee Schaffer, will share several of those stories about Mollie’s experience. Also on Saturday, Ash Bash Art & Music Festival will take place on Downtown 9th St. from 2- 11 p.m. Proceeds from this event benefit Lymphoma-Leukemia research. Enjoy music by ZZ Top tribute band, Trezz Hombres, Backlash, Moonbeam Lane, D-N-A Acoustic, and Led Zepplin tribute band, Trampled Under Foot. A 2017 Harley Davidson and other prizes will be raffled. Ash Bash will also feature a variety of food and craft vendors, a custom car cruise in, face painting, balloon release, and more.
On Sunday, the 20th, visitors and residents can head to Lowery’s Irish Pub for a Sunday Funday from 2- 11 p.m. Music will be provided by Chris Slone from 4- 7 p.m. A bags tournament with prizes will begin at 3 p.m. A margarita bar will also be open. On Sunday, at 7 p.m., Rend Lake College professor, Greg Hollman will explain the significance of the solar eclipse phenomenon with hands-on activities at the Mt. Vernon High School Audition. Following Hollman’s presentation, Dr. Kenneth Sembach will present on his work with the Hubble Telescope. Attendees will go outside around 9 p.m. for star gazing while Hollman identifies some of the night sky.
Two exhibits from the Space Telescope Science Institute, Visions of the Universe and Hubble’s Magnificent Universe will be on display Saturday and Sunday, the 19th-20th, at Cedarhurst from 10 a.m.- 5p.m. Admission is free. The following attractions will be offering free tours to the public, Appellate Courthouse, Saturday the 19th at 10 a.m. and Sunday the 20th at 4 p.m., Hall of Honor Military Museum Mt. Vernon Airport, Saturday the 19th, at 11 a.m., Historical Village, Saturday the 19th, at 1 p.m., and Cedarhurst, Saturday the 19th, at 3 p.m.
For more information on Totality Fest, contact the Mt. Vernon Convention & Visitors Bureau at 618-242-3151.