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News from "Eclipse"ville

We are now less than 6 months away from the April 8th Total Eclipse. Based on the buzz created by last Saturday's Annular Eclipse, we expect interest to continue to grow for the spectacular event coming on April 8th. In case you are one of those who are still “in the dark” about this event, here are a few facts that Gatesville residents and visitors should know:

· The last total eclipse to cross the US was in 2017. It cut a path from Oregon to South Carolina. Prior to that, the last total solar eclipse to cross the United States was in 1979 and the next will be in 2044.

· A total eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the view of the sun across a narrow band of the earth. The path of totality for the April 8, 2024 eclipse is approximately 150 miles wide. The closer to the center of this path you get, the longer duration of the eclipse you will see.

· Gatesville is in the center of the Path of Totality for this eclipse. That means that we will see 4 minutes, 23.9 seconds of totality making us one of the prime viewing locations in the world. The greatest duration of totality in the US will be near Eagle Pass and will last 4 minutes 26.8 seconds. By contrast, downtown Austin will see 1 minute 44 seconds, Dallas will experience 3 minutes 49.7 seconds and Temple will see 3 minutes, 43.6 seconds. San Antonio, Houston and Bryan/College Station will all be outside of the path.


With our long duration of totality, we expect a large number of visitors in our hotels and staying with friends and relatives in their homes. We also anticipate that there will be heavy traffic on the day of the eclipse as people within a few hours of here drive to be closer to the longest duration of totality. Our location on Hwy 36 and US 84 means that we will also see increased traffic through town as people travel to other destinations.


Over the last year, the City of Gatesville has quietly been working on plans for hosting these visitors. With the anticipation of heavier traffic and greater numbers of people on the weekend of the eclipse and on that Monday, Police Chief Brad Hunt and Fire Chief Billy Vaden have been meeting with a group of public safety officials including DPS, TxDoT, Coryell Health, Ft Cavasos Fire and Police, Game Wardens, GISD Police and more, to create a plan to work together to handle the traffic and any emergency situations.

We’ve also been communicating with local businesses to help them prepare for the increased demand for goods and services. From HEB and Walmart to our restaurants, gas stations and boutiques, our businesses are making plans for this event.


If you drive down Main Street, you can't miss the brightly colored banners featuring the work of local artist Niki Foster. We will soon be announcing retail locations where you can purchase t-shirts and eclipse glasses featuring this design. We will send out an email to let you know when those are ready. If you haven't already subscribed to our email updates, you can do so at the bottom of the home page of our website: https://www.gatesvilletxeclipse.com/


Finally, we are working to put our best foot forward by providing a safe and memorable experience for our residents and visitors. On Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7, the City of Gatesville and local organizations and community volunteers will host a downtown festival, dubbed “BLOCK (out the sun) PARTY”. This will be a free event with entertainment, food and merchandise vendors, fun activities for children and adults, and a free educational presentation by a NASA Ambassador in City Auditorium. Sunday will feature a time of praise and worship on the square, with activities through the afternoon.


On Monday, April 8, Gatesville ISD will hold a viewing party in McKamie Stadium and Friends of the Gatesville Public Library will offer paid parking at the Gatesville Sports Complex/Civic Center. Our NASA Ambassador and his team will be on Box Field with telescopes and a projection camera. Admission to the field is free of charge.


Information about these and other eclipse activities is available on www.GatesvilleTxEclipse.com and will be updated on a regular basis.

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2 Comments


We already have our parking pass. I just hope the roads will be able to handle the crowds. I'm glad to see Gatesville is on top of this!

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Louis Bravos
Louis Bravos
Oct 20, 2023

I look forward to gathering in the stadium on April 8. Please see that the lights are not activated by light sensors as we don't want light pollution to impact the experience.

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