By Alyssa Borg
Nashville, Light before the Dark
Events of Aug 18-21st // Join Nashville this weekend as we gear up for one of the greatest sights known to mankind: a total solar eclipse.
Stop by the Bicentennial Capitol Mall on August 18th- 21st to celebrate the lights of summer featuring fantastic food, wine, and music at the Italian Lights Festival. It’s free admission, including grape-stomping, kid’s crafts, and concerts. With over 75 arts, crafts and specialty food vendors, the Italian Lights Festival is also an official NASA eclipse viewing location and will be host to several NASA scientists, as well as eclipse enthusiasts from around the world.
There is also an additional option to purchase VIP tickets, a lavish 4-course dinner under the stars (with reserved seating for the evening’s main concert), Sunday champagne brunch, with live music, or Monday’s Eclipse VIP tickets for the ultimate experience. For more information, please visit their website http://italianlights.org/music-city-eclipse/
Another great stop to discover all things eclipse in Nashville is the Adventure Science Center, which will be hosting a 3-day-long (19th – 21st) festival. There is free admission for all outdoor activities and events, like wacky weather experiments, solar projections, sustainability, robotics exploration, and your chance to meet (and get a picture or autograph) of a real astronaut! Tickets are required for indoor experiences and a variety of speakers on Martian exploration, dark matter, and heliophysics (and more), and can be found here http://www.adventuresci.org/eclipsefest.
Maybe you’ve wondered how animals will react to a solar eclipse. Well, now is your chance. The Nashville Zoo will be hosting a Great American Solar Eclipse: Animal Observation Experience from noon to 3 pm on Monday, August 21st. So bring your future zoologist and nature enthusiast to see how a multitude of exotic and local animals react to the eclipse. This event is included with regular Zoo admission; however, it is advised that you arrive early. Plus, the first 5,000 attendees will receive free eclipse viewing glasses. For more information, visit https://www.nashvillezoo.org/
Howl at the Moon Music Festival is a salute to indie artists and a countdown to the upcoming solar eclipse held at Thompson Place, just ten minutes from downtown Nashville. Starting Saturday afternoon and continuing through Monday at 4 pm, this music festival will feature 40 new artists from around the globe. The rain or shine, Woodstock-esque festival will also be broadcast around the world. Plus bring your tents, campers and RV’s and enjoy a night under the stars this weekend, as camping is allowed at Thompson Place. But be warned, campfires, grills, and alcoholic beverages are not allowed (according to the Thompson Place website). Visit their website for more information and registration and rules for camping: https://www.howlatthemoonfestival.com.
There are also a number of restaurants, bars and hotels hosting Eclipse Viewing parties in Nashville. The majority of them include a swag bag, free eclipse glasses, food and drink (varies). Most rooftop bars and restaurants will have prime views, but they can also get uncomfortably crowded and raucous. And don’t forget: Nashville schools are scheduled to be closed for the Eclipse. That means a lot more people out and about during “normal” work/school hours, so be careful getting home after those viewing parties. (Too bad that light rail isn’t in yet, huh?)
And if you’re looking for something a little more low-key and non- eclipse related, I’d suggest a true Tennessean tradition, a pickin’ party. Once a month during the summer, Cornelia Fort Airpark, located in East Nashville’s Shelby Bottoms, becomes a gathering spot for hundreds of musicians, neighbors and Nashvillians, to have a beer, try a new food truck and jam to lively jubilant music. Plus, if you bring your instrument, you get an extra drink ticket. (Note to self: bring ukulele). For more information, including tickets, check here: http://www.friendsofshelby.org/pickin_parties
Photos by Adam Bowie (Rush Hour)