“Cherokee people have observed eclipses for millennia and have several names for them,” says the website for the Cherokee Cultural Eclipse Celebration. “The oldest is ‘Nvdo walosi ugisgo’ … ‘The frog eats the sun/moon.’” The Cherokee event — where, in honor of that legend, visitors are encouraged to bring drums and make noise from when the eclipse begins until the sun returns — is one of many eclipse-viewing parties being held in the westernmost counties of North Carolina, which will be in the path of totality, or total darkness.
Xpress rounds up that and other eclipse-related happenings. All events are on Monday, Aug. 21, unless otherwise noted.
• Children’s museum Hands On!, 31 N. Main St., Hendersonville, offers the exhibit Orbiting Objects in preparation for the solar eclipse. “All ages will enjoy discovering how planets orbit around the sun,” says a press release for the display, on view in the party room through Friday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. handsonwnc.org
• “Andrews is Totality Town, N.C.,” says the website for the locale’s eclipse events. The town in Cherokee County is “the only place in North Carolina where the very centerline of the eclipse’s path travels right through town” and will see two minutes and 28 seconds of total darkness. The 5K Shadow Run takes place Saturday, Aug. 19, at 7:30 a.m. On Aug. 21, Andrews offers viewing locations at Heritage Park, the Bear Ridge Mall Park & View and Andrews Middle School. Some spaces include camping. Make reservations at avl.mx/3zh
Talks and lectures Saturday, Aug. 19-Monday, Aug. 21, at various times, include “Astrology and Mythology of Solar Eclipses,” telescopes demonstrations, a star party and the NASA Megacast. avl.mx/3zi
• The town of Tryon holds a solar eclipse party, hosted by the Polk County Public Library and Polk County Early College Science Club at Harmon Field from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festivities include music, food, crafts and activities, and eclipse-viewing glasses will be available. polkschools.org/eclipse
• At Clingmans Dome, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the trailhead parking area will be the site of a ticketed event including eclipse viewing, educational exhibits and story tellers. The event is currently sold out, but canceled tickets will be released through recreation.gov
• The Cashiers Eclipse Festival includes food trucks, beer by The Ugly Dog Public House and Satulah Mountain Brewing, ice cream and a performance by ’60s and ’70s cover band Coconut Groove. avl.mx/3zk
• The Downtown Sylva Eclipse Festival is a weekendlong celebration. It launches Friday, Aug. 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. with a concert by Porch 40 at Bridge Park. Saturday, Aug. 19, brings a performance by A Social Function at 4 p.m., followed by Moonlight Madness, an after-hours shopping event. On Sunday, Aug. 20, “Solar eclipse educational panels will be held at Southwestern Community College with astronomy professors and subject matter experts,” according to the Jackson County website. The eclipse festival starts at Bridge Park at 11 a.m. Monday, with food trucks, lectures and a performance by the Colby Deitz Band. avl.mx/3zl
• An eclipse block party takes place in downtown Franklin from 1 to 6 p.m., with solar telescope viewing, a post-eclipse concert, giveaways, Moon Pies and RC Cola. And at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, 1028 Georgia Road, Franklin, the excitement begins at 11 a.m. with music by Mountain Faith Band, a DJ on the front lawn, according to event information, while inside the theater, “a live video stream [is] provided by NASA as some of [its] top scientists share commentary as the eclipse happens.” avl.mx/3zn
• The Cherokee Cultural Eclipse Celebration is slated for Sunday, Aug. 20, and Monday, Aug. 21, at the Cherokee Fairgrounds and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The Warriors of AniKituhwa will perform at the fairgrounds along with storytellers and craft demonstrators. The museum will host children’s activities. $25 per day. avl.mx/3zo
• Gorges State Park, 976 Grassy Ridge Road, Sapphire — home to 26 cascades and waterfalls — is the site of a three-day family-friendly occasion. “The park offers prime viewing spots, and we’ll … have live music, food trucks, ranger-led nature hikes, science discussions and demonstrations, face painting and more,” says the Friends of Gorges State Park website. “This event has been designated as an official 2017 Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party location through a joint effort between North and South Carolina, coordinated by the Morehead Planetarium and funded by N.C. Space Grant and S.C. Space.” Eclipse-related activities begin Saturday, Aug. 19. At presstime, no campsites were available for Saturday or Sunday. friendsofgorges.org/eclipse-at-gorges
• “Take the Eclipse Crawl,” says the website for Bryson City’s fête. Participating merchants will have eclipse-themed food and drink offerings throughout the weekend. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18, 19 and 20, catch live music at Riverfront Park from 7 to 9 nightly. The Fire Department on Main Street hosts a full-dome planetarium experience on Saturday and Sunday; the Swain County Agricultural Fair takes place Saturday, and the Appalachian Festival is on Sunday. On eclipse day, a block party at the rail road depot runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with music by Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and The Company Store. The Swain County Event Park promises live music (Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats and Lyric), plus food trucks. Parking is $10 cars/$20 vans/$40 buses. greatsmokies.com