UNION COUNTY — While some businesses and government offices will close for at least part of the afternoon there will be viewing parties around the county during the total eclipse of the sun on Monday.
On Monday afternoon, a diagonal swath of the United States of America from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina will experience an eclipse of the sun.
Those living within the path of the eclipse will see the moon cover the sun completely leaving the corona — the sun’s tenuous atmosphere — visible. Those living outside the path of the eclipse will be able to see a partial one with the moon covering only part of the sun.
Much of Union County will be in the path of the solar eclipse Monday afternoon with parts of the county such as Union and Cross Keys experiencing a total eclipse and others like Jonesville and Lockhart experiencing a partial one. The county’s being in the path of the eclipse has lead some institutions to announce plans to close for part of the afternoon while others will be hosting viewing parties of the event.
The following institutions will be closed during the eclipse:
• Union County — All non-essential county offices and recycling centers that would normally be operating during that time will be closed from 1-3:30 p.m.
• City of Union — The City of Union Municipal Building will be closed from 2-3 p.m.
• Arthur State Bank — A sign on the door of the Main Street Branch states the bank will be closed from 2-3 p.m.
• Park Sterling Bank — Branch Manager Chip Alexander said that the bank will “play it by ear,” but if the opportunity arises to be closed, the bank will close to allow staff to view the eclipse. He said if that’s the case the bank will be closed no longer than 15-20 minutes.
• Broad River Electric Cooperative — BREC offices will close at noon.
In a statement released Friday, BREC Public Information Officer Josh Crotzer announced that “in the interest of safety for our members and employees during the solar eclipse, Broad River Electric will be closing our offices in Gaffney and Boiling Springs at noon on Monday, August 21. Members can still make payments and manage their accounts using our phone system by calling 1-866-687-2667 or logging on to our online member portal which can be found at www.broadriverelectric.com. Our crews will be prepared to respond to outages if needed. If you experience an outage, call 1-866-266-7688. www.broadriverelectric.com/eclipse.”
• Union County Schools — All schools of the Union County School District will be closed Monday.
In a statement released Friday, Union County School District Superintendent Dr. William Roach said “we spent a great deal of time talking with leaders from other districts and talking with others around the state. We thought it would be in the best interest of our students and their families if we started school on Thursday, August 17, 2017 and then were out Monday, August 21, 2017. On the 17th and 18th teachers across our district have taught students about the eclipse. By school being out on Monday, students and their families can determine how they choose to view the event.”
Several local institutions will be holding viewing parties for the eclipse. Those institutions are:
• Cross Keys House — The Cross Keys House will host a “Solar Eclipse Viewing” from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
A flier advertising the event states the eclipse will begin at 1:11 p.m. and end around 2:40 p.m. The flier states that the total eclipse will last at least 41 seconds during that time.
There will be food including sno cones and hot dogs, gospel music, and lots of fun and fellowship, so those attending are urged bring their lawn chairs.
Parking will cost $5 per car and while the flier states special glasses for viewing will be available for $2 each, organizers say they have already sold out, but hope to have some more by Monday morning.
The flier urges the public to “come join in the fun and experience a once in a lifetime event. Hope to see you there.”
• Union County Airport — The Union County Airport will host a “SE 2017 Eclipse Viewing Event” from 1-4 p.m.
There will be free hot dogs, chips, and drinks and there will also be free glasses for viewing the eclipse while supplies last.
People who plan to attend the event are urged to bring a lawn chair.
The viewing event is sponsored by Union County, Union County Parks and Recreation, Woodmen of the World, Union County Airport, Timken Sports Complex, and the Union County Carnegie Library.
• Union County Carnegie Library — The Union County Carnegie Library will hold an Eclipse Watch Party on the library lawn from 1-4 p.m.
Persons wanting to take part in the party are urged to bring chairs, blankets, or even have a picnic as they watch the eclipse.
The library has a limited supply of eclipse safety glasses which it will be distributing on a first come, first serve basis.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.