SAINT GENEVIEVE and PERRYVILLE, MISSOURI
The "Mother of the West" opens her arms to eclipse-chasers. Max coverage: 1:15PM (CDT)
Missouri is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to small towns, and with a number of them lined up on the eclipse’s path of totality, now’s as good as ever a time to visit the so-called “Mother of the West.” Saint Genevieve, an hour south of Saint Louis and smack in the middle of the centerline, is an historic town established in 1753 and known for being Missouri’s first settlement. This quaint community, which has a rich French heritage that holds strong in the town’s restaurants, is revving up for a pre-eclipse event on Sunday, with live music and a beer garden, and a viewing party on August 21st when the skies will be dark from about 11.30AM to 2:30PM, with maximum totality occurring around 1.15PM. The festivities include food vendors, lawn games, state park exhibits, and art displays (with a solar theme, of course). For the truly committed, there are properly filtered telescopes and scientists on hand to explain the spectacle. Packages must be purchased in advance and include a reserved eclipse-viewing space, parking, and parking shuttle passes. Meantime, Perryville, a small town of about 8,000 80 miles south of Saint Louis, is throwing a four-day Solar Fest beginning Friday, August 18th. Perhaps best described as a cosmic-themed country fair, the jamboree will include a mobile planetarium, a carnival, a road race, a parade and much more. Plus local businesses are going all out. Nearby Hemman Winery, for instance, created Totality vintage for the event and lots of food purveyors will be hawking other specialty items.