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MARYSVILLE, KAN: Marysville, the westernmost Kansas town to view next month’s eclipse, is planning a series of events to gear up for this once-in-a-lifetime event. The town will get the party started Sunday, August 20, with special activities scheduled throughout the day.

“We will have so many visitors in our community on Sunday before the eclipse occurs, and we wanted to make sure they truly enjoyed their time here,” said Michelle Whitesell, Director of Marysville Convention & Tourism. “We thought of no better way to welcome them here than to have a big party in downtown Marysville!

The free movie “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” will be shown at the Astro 3 Theatre at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; the movie is sponsored by Kramer Oil.

A Black Squirrel Scavenger Hunt will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Participants can pick up a prize for turning in completed maps in the Marysville City Park.

Music will permeate the park with the Squirrel Jam Music Festival from 3 to 9 p.m., sponsored by Marshall County Arts Cooperative. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instrument and add their talent to the jam.

Trail Life USA of Marysville will serve a brisket dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. in City Park. The Evangelical United Church of Christ will sponsor an ice cream social at the church located north of the City Park at 205 South 10th Street.

“Where’s the Sun?” Fun Run, organized by the Blue River Runners will begin at 9 p.m. in the park. Walkers and runners are welcome. Those interested can contact the Marysville Chamber of Commerce at (785) 562-3101 to register.

Glow and Flow Yoga, sponsored by Marysville Health & Fitness, will begin at 10 p.m. at the tennis courts in the park.

Some retail businesses and restaurants will be open Sunday, many with special discounts and commemorative eclipse merchandise. Local museums will also be open for visitors.

“South Hill Pottery has created some gorgeous, hand-crafted solar eclipse plates. The Wagon Wheel Café is having an eclipse burger to celebrate the occasion,” said Whitesell. “Several retailers are offering 21 percent off in honor of August 21st. We invite all of our visitors to take advantage of these offers and see what Downtown Marysville has to offer!”

The next day, Monday, crowds can gather at Lakeview Sports Complex, the town’s official viewing site, to experience the 1 minute, 11 seconds of totality, as well as the partial eclipse before and after the total eclipse, which take nearly 1.5 hours, beginning at 11:37 am.

The partial eclipse should be viewed with proper glasses, which are available for $1 at the Visitors Center, Marysville Main Street offices and participating downtown retailers.

The eclipse is billed as the celestial event of a lifetime as the skies go eerily dark. During a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and earth, blocking all direct sunlight and turning day to night for a few minutes. The last total solar eclipse visible in Kansas was in 1918, and the next one will be in 2045.

Lakeview Sports Complex has free parking, restrooms and picnic areas. Bite Me BBQ will have a food truck to serve at the event.

Marysville motels report that most rooms are booked by people from outside the state. People are coming from Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Indiana, Arizona, Michigan and Virginia. One motel representative reported many bookings from major cities in Texas.

“We want everybody to stop what they are doing on Aug. 21 and watch the solar eclipse,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to miss out!”

For more information about the event people may contact Whitesell at 785-619-6050.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.