7,500 Attend Waterloo Solarbration

7,500 Attend Waterloo Solarbration

Total solar eclipse photo collage by Dawn Woodruff

Waterloo officials promoted the Aug. 21 total eclipse gathering, but in their wildest dreams did they ever expect the big crowd who made their way to the fairgrounds. Waterloo officials estimate 7,500 people attended the Solarbration held at the fairgrounds during the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. A guestbook was signed by 1,345 attendees. There were a few heat-related medical calls as the temperature soared to the mid-90s with high humidity. 

Countries represented were: United States, Bolivia, Canada, United Kingdom (England and Wales), Ireland, India, Russia and Turkey. In the U.S., folks from 285 cities in 26 states were in attendance, including Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

"The community along with many volunteers worked together to make this event the success it was," said City of Waterloo's Sarah Deutch, who headed up organizing the event. 

There were several acts of kindness witnessed during the event. When a muffler fell off a car, a local handyman rolled up his sleeves and made the repair. Waterloo police officers changed a flat tire on another car. "And the attendees kept the place very clean," said Alderman Russ Thomas. "Everyone picked up their own trash. We hardly had anything to pick up at the end of the day."

Rt. 156 was packed Monday morning as 7,500 folks made their way to the Monroe County Fairgrounds for Waterloo’s Solarbration. Monroe County Rotarians and Waterloo Aldermen (Russ Thomas pictured) were kept busy parking cars for several hours. The stretch of road was also busy from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. as an exodus headed back home.

Waterloo’s Solarbration was an entertaining and informative event. Local guitarist Brad Noe provided musical entertainment, 106.5 FM The Arch broadcasted live and KMOV’s Jon Grayson provided the play-by-play.

James and Alena Morrissette traveled down from the Chicago suburb of Bollingbrook to attend Waterloo’s Solarbration. Their mother helped her children design materials to safely watch the total eclipse.

Siblings Sophia, Lucille, Jacob and Michael Craig drove in from Decatur to attend the Solarbration.

The sun and moon in totality for more than 2 minutes during the eclipse.