Darke County to host weekend long events centered around eclipse


By Meladi Brewer


DARKE COUNTY — Darke County is preparing for an event filled weekend centered around the Solar Eclipse taking place the weekend of April 8.

Main Street Greenville, The Darke County Visitors Bureau, the Darke County Health District Commissioner, Sheriff’s Department and more have been planning a weekend of fun for the whole community.

“Weather can be unpredictable, and we wanted to make sure that even if clouds are blocking the sun that people could still have fun,” Greg Billing with Darke County Visitors Bureau said.

He said that Ohio in April could mean clouds. Despite the possibility of clouds, eclipse watchers would still be able to experience the darkness and hopefully have a good weekend.

The whole weekend long, Main Street Greenville (MSG) will be hosting activities. April 5 from 6 until 9 p.m., MSG will host “Puttin’ Around Downtown, and on Saturday April 5 from 11 a.m. – TBD there will be shop, dine, activities, and more in the downtown. Sunday, April 7 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. there will be a Pre-Totality Food Truck Rally in downtown Greenville.

On April 8, A.R. Winery, 3564 Gordon Landis Road, will be celebrating the eclipse from noon until 5 p.m. by having brats and hotdogs on the grill. There are 32 guaranteed parking spots at $30 each. All spots must be pre paid and are non refundable. Additional spots may be available day of. Reservations can be made during normal business hours Wednesday-Thursday, noon until 8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, noon until 9 p.m.

Visit the Darke Side of the Moon selfie mural. The mural, created by Greenville’s Ethan Tutwiler, is located at Lynn Hamilton’s lot across from The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe. This temporary mural will be on display through the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse. Please tag the Darke County Visitors Bureau in your photos at #visitdarkecounty.

Tutwiler’s artwork was chosen from 17 entries as a way to hopefully draw more tourism into the county.

“We had some great entries, and I really wish we could use them and put them all up in the downtown,” Billing said.

Commissioner Matt Aultman said Billing is in charge of all the event planning and attraction into the county, and his budget comes in through bed taxes. It was determined by the commissioners at the time the Bureau was created to collect the tax, keep a little for administration, and the rest would be given to the Visitors Bureau for operations.

“People spend money in our community, and we get the sales tax as a county, so in a way the bed tax attracts the bureau, attracts people to our county, and through sales tax, they help operate our county,” Aultman said.

Aultman said that explanation is were Billing is coming from when they plan all the events, murals, and attractiveness within the community. The goal is to have people across the whole nation either coming to or coming back to visit Darke County.

For a full list of events visit the www.visitdarkecounty.org/total-solar-eclipse-2024, follow Darke Side of the Moon on Facebook, or visit www.darkecountypark.org/eclipse2024.

Need a safe way to view the eclipse? “Be a Light in the Darke” and donate one canned good or non-perishable food item and receive one pair of Solar Eclipse glasses while supplies last. Donations can be dropped off at the Welcome Center, 421 S. Broadway St., in downtown Greenville. The Darke County Visitors Bureau has already given out 400 pairs of glasses, collected 300 cans of perishable items, and have collected $160 in donations.

The Darke County Parks will also have glasses available in their gift shops at the Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Historic Bear’s Mill. They are $3 a pair with a limit of four glasses per person.

Need new apparel that will have you feeling like a star? Darke Co Apparel will have Eclipse Total Darke-ness shirts. Email [email protected] with all the details and questions.

Billing advises the community to be aware and to prepare for this event seriously, as it is “better to over prepare than under prepare”. There is no way of predicting how many new comers will be coming to the area, but based off previous patters and hotel and camping availability, the county is preparing for situations.

“Be aware of sudden breaking, increased traffic, and things like that,” Billing said. “Fill your gas tank before Friday, get your prescriptions early, GPS may go out, have cash on hand – you never know what will and will not be working that day.”

Billing said they are not trying to blow this event out of proportion, but they never not want to prepare people, as we will be under four minutes of darkness.

The Ohio Farm Bureau asks that anyone who has questions about invited and uninvited guests for the upcoming solar eclipse to take a look at a new 40-page Ohio Landowner Toolkit that contains essential information. It was prepared by the Bureau’s legal team and will answer questions unique to property owners when it comes to landowner liability. Learn more at ofb.ag/SolarEclipselandownerToolkit.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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