The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will host an initial public information meeting Thursday to begin the process of generating interest, enthusiasm and support for the Aug. 21 full solar eclipse which, CVB officials suggest, could attract 50,000 people to the Capital City.
Civic groups, clubs, volunteers, businesses, sponsors, lodging and interested parties are invited to attend the meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 114 at the Lincoln University Wellness and Parks Multi-Purpose Center, 1299 Lafayette St.
"Jefferson City is in the path of totality for the only full solar eclipse in the United States in our lifetime," said Katherine Reed, CVB communications manager. "This brings great opportunities for our community to join together to organize a celebration that could attract 50,000 or more people."
Being promoted as the "Jefferson City, Mo., Capital Eclipse, 8.21.2017" with a tag line of "2 min 29 sec of Totality on the banks of the Missouri River," the marketing is targeted as a celebration including education and science, concerts and entertainment featuring an Eclipse Village and Festival.
"A total solar eclipse is an event few have witnessed, yet it is the most dramatic celestial event you'll ever see," Reed said. "During totality, with the sun's brilliant disk fully covered by the moon, the day turns dark and the brightest planets and stars become visible. Animals become quiet, birds roost and the temperature drops noticeably.
"During the 2017 eclipse, the path of totality will be 8,600 miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Remarkably, although it starts in the Pacific and ends in the Atlantic, the moon's shadow passes over land only in the U.S. and Jefferson City is one of the best places for viewing. The Capital Eclipse Celebration will include three days of great entertainment, art and astronomy," Reed said.
Jill Snodgrass, president of Daily Plan-It, which has staged several Jefferson City events in recent years, will lead organization of the Capital Eclipse Celebration, with help from CVB Executive Director Diane Gillespie.
"We plan to discuss ways in which the community can become involved with the celebration as well as providing a brief presentation of what will happen with Total Solar Eclipse," Reed added. That presentation will be by Eugene Vale of the Missouri State Parks Resource Management and Interpretation Program.