‘Just look at the sky’: Viewing events planned throughout Carmel for once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse


For 3 minutes and 29 seconds starting at 3:06 p.m. April 8, Carmel will be in complete darkness during the total solar eclipse. With thousands of visitors expected to flock to the area, several events are planned throughout the city to provide options to view the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of nature. The last time it occurred Hamilton County was more than 800 years ago.

“Just look at the sky. You have the ability to walk outside and experience it. It’s not just a phenomenon that you witnessed with your eyes. It’s very emotional. I can’t explain why. But everybody has a real emotional reaction,” said Dan Kelleher, geologist and president of Carmel-based Midwest GeoSciences.

Kelleher will provide a livestream from the gazebo at Carmel City Hall, 1 Civic Square, using his smart telescope technology imaging system, Seestar S50. The livestream will be available to view through the city of Carmel YouTube Channel and at the event.

“I am not a fan of putting on glasses and looking at the sun. This thing is electronic and gives you an alternative,” Kelleher said. “You’re not going to burn your eyes looking at the computer screen. Or if you’re out at Civic Square, if you don’t want to look up, you’ll be able to look at the screen and see it.”

Civic Square is the site of Carmel’s official eclipse viewing event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free festivities are open to the public and will feature live music, food and drink vendors, and eclipse updates.

Carmel City Council member Jeff Worrell and Hamilton County Council member and Carmel firefighter Tim Griffin will serve as event hosts. Kelleher will provide information about the eclipse and his camera, and Carmel Police Department chaplain George Davis will provide an invocation.

“It’s going to be a fun day,” said Melanie Brewer, senior project manager, marketing & community relations for the City of Carmel.

Entertainment will include singer Marielle Sellars, the Indiana Wind Symphony and The Bishops, who will cap off the event.

“I think it’ll be really nice for the community to get an opportunity to join together. It’s right in the core of our downtown right along the Monon Greenway,” Brewer said. “We’re encouraging people to walk or bike if they can because traffic will be a madhouse.”

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Eclipse glasses packed for CCS students. (Photo courtesy of Greyhound Council)

Parking, fundraising at Carmel Clay Schools

With parking limited near Civic Square, Carmel Clay Schools – which will not hold classes April 8 – and the newly formed Greyhound Council is using empty campuses to welcome visitors and fundraise.

Several CCS schools will open their parking lots to prepaid reserved parking beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the eclipse. All proceeds will benefit the schools directly.

The council serves as a bridge between schools, parents and the district.

“We were discussing the fact that the school was closed, and we have a lot of different buildings and parking lots, especially thinking of the high school. We thought this would be a great opportunity to invite the community into a safe space,” said Amanda Swearingen, Greyhound Council president.

Parking will be permitted by advanced reservation only. Restroom facilities will be available and student resource officers will monitor each site with teams of volunteers until 3 p.m.

Participating schools include Carmel Middle School, Carmel Elementary School and Carmel High School – which are all within walking distance to Civic Square. In addition, Creekside Middle School and the adjacent College Wood Elementary and West Clay Elementary will open its lots. The cost is $20 per parking spot.

Smoky Row Elementary, 900 W. 136th St., is hosting an event for its students, families and those with paid parking passes for its lots. SRE parking and event cost is $25.

“Given that it is a long day of waiting for the actual event to happen and that the city is predicting a lot of extra traffic, we decided to provide additional activities for people to participate in while they wait and so they don’t have to leave once they are parked,” said Elizabeth Bennet, chair of the SRE eclipse event planning committee.

Food trucks will be on site at noon, and at 12:30 p.m. a live DJ, coloring table, photo booth and story walk will be available. The playground will also be open.

For reservations, visit eventbrite.com.

Clay Terrace viewing event

Clay Terrace, 14390 Clay Terrace Blvd., will host a viewing party from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free, but registration is required. Check-in begins at 12:30 p.m.

“We wanted to host a totally free event focused on families with younger kids. “Our location close to the Monon makes it very walkable and bikeable from surrounding neighborhoods,” said Christine Foulke, Clay Terrace marketing director.

Activities will include a children’s play area featuring a “moon bounce,” live music by Worlds Apart Band, food trucks, selfie station, face painting, eclipse information stations and complimentary safety viewing glasses. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to view the eclipse on the Clay Terrace lawn.

To register, visit clayterrace.com.

Celebrate at Sun King

Sun King Brewery introduced “In the Path of Totality” at all of their locations March 8, and the exclusive brew will be available while supplies last.

“We chose a golden ale to represent the brilliance of the sun. We partnered with a local coffee roaster, Sun Bean, to represent the darkness of the eclipse, resulting in a coffee-infused golden ale,” said Elizabeth Belange-Hood, marketing/promotions director for Sun King Brewery & Spirits.

Sun King will host free viewing parties starting at 11 a.m. April 8 at its location in Carmel at 351 Monon Blvd. as well as its Fishers and Indianapolis locations.

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Thousands of people are expected to travel to sites within the path of totality to view the solar eclipse on April 8. (Map courtesy of Hamilton County Tourism)

An influx of visitors

The influx of visitors to view the eclipse is expected to impact traffic and businesses.

Sarah Buckner, Hamilton County Tourism assistant director of community engagement, said most visitors are likely to drive and many are expected to stay for the day, not necessarily overnight.

“Eclipse chasers are the most likely to drive. Greatamericaneclipse.com estimates just under 600,000 visitors to Indiana. For perspective, we have about 60,000 visitors in a busy month,” Buckner said.

Buckner added that hotel occupancy is “a little over 50 percent full right now.” Vacation rentals are only slightly up from a year ago.

“I feel like a total eclipse is such a great way for the community to gather together and celebrate this natural phenomenon. And in a really positive way,” Buckner said. “I think that it could bring a lot of visitors here that have never even thought to visit the county or city and it could open their eyes to us and bring everybody back. I see nothing but positive with a total eclipse and then expected tourists in traffic and I think it will be great.”

For more information about area events, visit visithamiltoncounty.com.

Learn eclipse history before the big day

Midwest GeoSciences and the City of Carmel are hosting an eclipse history and earth science lecture event from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. April 7 at the Carmel Clay Public Library, 425 E Main St, in the community room. Registration required.

“What a great opportunity to bring people to Carmel who are experts in their field and share a perspective that people have public interest in and provide another emotional connection through science and history together,” said Dan Kelleher, president of Midwest GeoSciences.

Lecturers include Tom Sale, professor emeritus of civil engineering and former director of The Center for Hydrology in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University, and Donna Jurdy, a lecturer for the Association for Women Geoscientists and professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

In a lecture titled “Eclipses and Celestial Bodies: Shining a Light on History and Science during this Magical Moment of Darkness,” Sale will share the history and science behind past eclipses.

“Tom is a great storyteller. He is an entertainer. He is going to get people engaged and make it fun,” Kelleher said.

Jurdy will share a lecture titled “SETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence – Perspectives of an Earth Scientist” backed by more than 50 years of research.

“Donna is one of the leading people in the nation to have been looking at and searching for life in the universe,” Kelleher said. “There’s very few people on this planet that know more about the status of that than she does.”

To register, visit carmelclaylibrary.org. For more on eclipse science, visit midwestgeo.com