When science writer Trudy Bell said to never let anyone convince me that 99% of the sun covered was the same as totality, I didn’t know what to think. She then went on to say, “It’s 1% of the sun’s surface, but it’s 100% of the experience.” The moment the moon fully covered the sun during the recent total solar eclipse that passed over our hometown of Crete, Neb., I knew exactly what she meant. And she was right.
Total solar eclipse, photographed by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska. If you look closely, you can see solar flares along the edges of the moon.
Ann and I had been looking forward to the eclipse for some time, and we couldn’t wait to welcome travelers from around the nation and the world to our hometown. On the Saturday before the eclipse, we had a booth downtown where we sold t-shirts as well as souvenir postcards — something for the special stamp and cancellation mark from our local post office.
We designed five total solar eclipse postcards that we sold throughout the weekend of the eclipse. They made a great souvenir from the event.
We had an absolute blast meeting people from all over the country who were in Crete for the total solar eclipse. We met and talked with people from Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Oregon, California and Nevada. We learned so much about eclipses from people like Trudy Bell.
More eclipse fun!! This will be Trudy’s SIXTH total solar eclipse! She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to eclipses and we’re so happy to welcome her and her daughter to Crete this weekend!
We also met people from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who were excited to be in town for the eclipse. Their description of what was to come just added to the excitement of the day.
Talking eclipse in downtown Crete, Nebraska.
Our little t-shirt and postcard sales gig proved to be pretty popular and we found ourselves a little busier than expected answering calls and texts from people all weekend.
We sold several hundred of these 2017 total solar eclipse t-shirts during eclipse festivities in downtown Crete, Nebraska.
By Monday morning, we were ready to be done with postcard and t-shirt sales and just settle in to watch the eclipse. But people kept contacting us. In fact, the owner of our local Ace Hardware store had some people from Iowa who really wanted some postcards so he just drove them up to our house to get some. That’s what we do in small town America.
We sold more than 2,000 total solar eclipse postcards and our local post office offered a special cancellation stamp.
While they were here, we got a call from friends in a local park–apparently, people were clamoring for more postcards, so we were off again, making arrangements for their sale and distribution. In the meantime, we’d met a couple other folks from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who wanted a t-shirt. They seemed nice, so we invited them up to our place to watch the eclipse.
We met great people from all over the world, including these eclipse chasers from California, Nevada, and Canada.
We were so tickled that they accepted our invitation. We also had our friends and fellow travel bloggers, Sara (and her husband, Todd) of Travel with Sara, and Lisa and Tim of The Walking Tourists, a friend of mine from college and his family, Ann’s mom and my parents, friends who were just back from Sri Lanka, a dozen or so college students and suddenly, we had a houseful.
Friends and fellow travel bloggers Lisa and Tim Trudell and Sara and Todd Broers look at the eclipse through a telescope in our front yard.
I threw some burgers on the grill, Ann and my mom made some great salads, we cooked some locally grown Behrens family sweet corn in a cooler, and lunch was served.
We learned a great way to make sweet corn for a crowd is to pour boiling water over the corn in a cooler and just shut the lid for about 20 minutes.
Clouds were all around that morning, threatening our eclipse viewing, so I said a prayer. Still, the whole group had a lot of fun chatting and getting to know each other. Finally, after so much anticipation, the solar eclipse began.
Steve and his dad, John Teget, watch the total solar eclipse from our front yard in Crete, Nebraska.
We all put on our eclipse glasses and at first, we couldn’t really see any difference in the sun. Then, it became more clear. As the moon transited the sun, anticipation (and cloud formations) grew. We couldn’t wait! Thankfully, God answered my prayer and the clouds held off until just after totality ended! What follows is a series of photos of the eclipse. We’d like to thank our friend Ronald Koch who took these photos right here in Crete.
A view of the partial eclipse before totality. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch, in Crete, Nebraska.
Just before the moon completely covers the sun, we could see the “diamond ring” effect. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.
The moon completely covers the sun during totality allowing viewers to see the sun’s light shine out around the moon. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.
Just a little bit of the moon still covers the sun following the total solar eclipse. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.
After experiencing totality, I feel confident in saying that all the positive hype we’d heard about the eclipse didn’t adequately describe it. It was a sight unlike anything I’d ever seen and I can’t find the words to describe the experience.
I go back to what Trudy Bell said in the video above, that 99% covered means that 1% is uncovered. And that 1% is 100% of the experience. Seeing the sun completely covered, looking at the rays of the sun shining out around the moon, seeing a metallic, teal colored sunrise in all directions, all while hearing the crickets chirping and frogs croaking at 1 o’clock in the afternoon was an incredible experience.
Ann and I had run all over town in the days and weeks leading up to the eclipse, we’d done so much to prepare. Those 2 minutes and 26 seconds of totality were worth it to us and to all those who had traveled from near and far to see it.
Steve’s friend, Scott drove with his family from Wisconsin to see the total solar eclipse.
We wish we could have had all our blog followers in Crete for this event. We know that isn’t possible, so Ann took a video during the eclipse while on our deck. While watching video isn’t the same as being here, I hope it at least gives you an idea of what the experience was like. Listen to the cheers and the spontaneous reactions of those who saw this awesome sight.
We are now officially eclipse junkies, and are already beginning to make plans to travel to the path of totality for the next eclipse in the U.S. on April 8, 2024. That one will enter through Texas and exit through the northeast. Visit [HERE] for a map showing its path as well as the path of all the eclipses in the US between now and 2050. If you have not yet seen a total solar eclipse, you should strongly consider making plans to do so. If you do, I think you’ll find that you have a hard time finding words to describe the experience, as well.
Were you able to watch the total solar eclipse? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
I have to admit, we’re pretty excited about the total solar eclipse that is about to happen. We follow a lot of travel bloggers, and know that many are making plans to travel great distances so they can experience what it’s like to be plunged into the shadow of the moon and witness “totality.”
Ann and I are no different. We have plans to travel all the way to our own driveway to watch. Living in Crete, Neb., we’re lucky to be smack-dab in the path of the moon’s shadow, and we get to experience nearly two and a half minutes of totality right in our own hometown. If you don’t have a place set to go watch the eclipse, you might consider coming here.
The path of totality of the 2017 solar eclipse passes right over Crete and Wilber, Nebraska
Our town of Crete has teamed up with nearby Wilber and has put together a series of fun events designed to create a weekend to remember for anyone traveling to the eclipse.
Saturday in Crete, Nebraska
The weekend festivities kick off in Crete on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. with a 1 or 5 mile fun run in Tuxedo Park. If you’re like me, you may want to sleep in a bit and come to the park to cheer on the finishers of the race and enjoy the pancake feed there sponsored by the Crete Volunteer Fire Department which starts at 8 a.m. Later in the day, Crete’s businesses will host a community shopping tour–look for Ann and me, we’ll be in City Park from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. selling commemorative postcards along with the special stamp the US Postal Service created for the eclipse. Crete’s post office even has a special one-of-a-kind cancellation stamp for the occasion.
We are selling commemorative postcards with five different designs, including this one.
The back of our postcard has plenty of room for the special postmark.
We will also be selling a limited number of Postcard Jar eclipse t-shirts at our little stand in the park. Please come down, we’d love to meet you.
Stop by the total solar eclipse events in Crete and say hello! We’d love to meet you.
At 2 p.m., Doane University is hosting an expert panel of university professors who will discuss the eclipse and what can be expected. That panel repeats at 3 p.m., but with a Spanish translation. Both are in the Chab Weyers Education Building on the Campus of Doane University.
Starting at 5 p.m. that evening, come to downtown Crete for a food fair and beer garden. Two blocks of Main Street will be closed off to car traffic, and attendees may purchase a beer (and other beverages) in bars and restaurants up and down the street and carry them outside.
The Brew House in Crete is one of the establishments that will have a wristband for Saturday evening.
Each establishment will have its own colored wristband for patrons over age 21. See if you can collect all five! If you’re feeling daring, stop by Red Dog Tavern where Tyler has a special concoction for the occasion: the Eclipse Viewfinder which includes five different liquors, Monster energy drink, and a splash of pineapple juice in a souvenir cup for $12.
In addition to great food inside Crete’s restaurants, people attending the festivities will also be able to purchase food from a variety of street vendors including barbecue, sno-cones, sloppy joes, funnel cakes, tacos, kettle corn, sandwiches, and Italian ice. At 6:30 p.m., the POYDS Dance Company will offer a free line dancing class. You’ll want to take that so you’re prepared for the street dance in that same area from 8 p.m.-midnight featuring the band, Panama Road. Ann and I will be around somewhere downtown selling postcards and t-shirts, so please stop by.
Our Postcardjar.com stand in City Park.
Sunday in Wilber, Nebraska
On Sunday, the activities are centered in Wilber, located about ten miles south of Crete.
Wilber, Nebraska, is the Czech capital of the USA.
Most events in Wilber take place in their Legion Park. They kick off with a sand volleyball tournament at 9 a.m. If you missed pancakes in Crete, or you are hungry for more, the Wilber Volunteer Fire Department is also hosting a pancake feed Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Maybe you should go to both and then decide who makes better cakes? Starting at 10 a.m. will be the “Pork in the Park” barbecue competition.
From 1-2 p.m., Doane University is bringing its educational panel to Wilber High School. Also in Wilber on Sunday will be a kids carnival from 1-5 p.m., a photo booth from 4-6 p.m., and polka lessons and a performance by the Wilber-Clatonia Alumni Band from 5-6 p.m.
Stop by the park for Polka lessons Sunday from 5-6 p.m.
The day’s activities are capped off with a barbecue meal from 6:30-8:30 p.m. featuring food from the entrants in the Pork in the Park contest.
Monday is the big eclipse!
Monday is the big day for the Eclipse. Start your morning off right with sunrise meditation and yoga in Crete’s City Park at 7 a.m.
City Park will be a great place to start your day on Monday with meditation and yoga beginning at 7 a.m.
From there, enjoy more shopping in Crete and a farmer’s market in Wilber. To watch an eclipse, you need plenty of open sky, and both towns have a lot of that. Be sure to head to Armory Park in Crete or back to Legion Park in Wilber to watch the eclipse starting at 11:36 am.
Armory Park is located near 1st and Hawthorne Ave. in the south side of Crete.
Wide open space at Armory Park will be ideal for viewing the total solar eclipse in Crete, Nebraska.
For about 90 minutes, the moon with gradually cover the sun until it blocks it completely just after 1 p.m. This phase of “totality” has not happened in the U.S. since 1979, and will last only about two and a half minutes before the sun peeks out from behind the moon again. During totality, it’s possible to look at the sun and see its corona coming out from behind the moon. Stars will be visible in the sky. Watch the video below from Smarter Everyday for the best description we’ve seen yet.
I’ve heard that nothing can fully prepare you for experiencing a total eclipse of the sun, so I hope you can find a way to get into the path of “totality” and see for yourself just what it’s like. We’re excited to live in a town that is really working hard to make this an earth shadowing for everyone!
Are you planning to watch the total solar eclipse August 21, 2017? Where will you be along the path of totality?
As always, thanks for sharing (and pinning)!
We’re Steve and Ann Teget. We spent more than two decades in corporate America and public education before Ann’s health and Steve’s aversion to middle school girl drama convinced us to try something new. Now we are making the most of midlife and telling authentic stories about extraordinary travel. And yes, we send ourselves postcards.