Eclipse experience: Library draws crowd for viewing party

By Racey Burden | Published August 23, 2017
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Hundreds of people stood in the parking lot of Decatur Public Library Monday afternoon and looked to the sky.

GOTTA WEAR SHADES — Brothers Garrett, Mason and Landon White camp out with snow cones Monday in the Decatur Public Library parking lot to watch the eclipse.

Through heavily tinted eyeglasses and pinhole viewers, they watched the moon briefly cover the sun during the solar eclipse.

Because Decatur schools weren’t letting students outside during the eclipse, many of the kids in the parking lot had been pulled from school by their parents to see it.
“He kept telling me ‘it’s once in a lifetime, Mom!’” Candi Murphree said of her son, middle school student Cody, who begged her to take him out of class to watch the eclipse.

CLOSER LOOK — People across the United States took a break Monday to watch the solar eclipse, shown here as viewed through a telescope in Fort Worth.

“Once in a lifetime and then seven years later,” Cody said, referring to the 2024 total eclipse that will directly cross North Texas.

Murphree’s friend Amanda Noble brought her son Heaton and his friend Tytus Conyers to the library, and they sat under an umbrella in the parking lot, waiting for the sky to darken slightly.

“We just thought it would be awesome,” Noble said, and the boys agreed that it was.

They were especially impressed with the shadows cast by the eclipse through the leaves of the trees next to the library.

“The leaves over there are amazing,” Noble said. “They cast crescent moon shadows.”

Library director Pat Peters estimated between 250 to 350 people came to the library’s eclipse party, which included a snow cone and food truck and eclipse science lessons for the kids. The library also had attendees write Post-it notes to place in a time capsule.

“We’re going to put that away for the 2024 eclipse,” Peters said.

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