Shawnee Prairie hosts “totally cool” eclipse watch


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — Eclipse watchers enjoyed the nurturing surroundings at Shawnee Prairie Preserve for the 2024 once in a lifetime event.

The open landscape provided travelers with ample space to not only watch the solar eclipse but enjoy live music, Frisbee, a game of catch, kite flying, food, and just prime relaxation. At a crisp 70 degrees with a slight breeze, it was the perfect day to get out and enjoy the food trucks like Kona Ice and just soak up the much needed warmth and sun Ohio has been missing for the past couple of wintry months.

“We are the envy of the U.S.,” Ted Yoder Band said. “We have great weather, a full view, and Europe doesn’t get to see the eclipse at all.”

The singer/artist from the band said Darke County is fortunate to be able to have the weather we did for a prime viewing opportunity. Many people traveled from afar to experience this phenomenon in person, and it would have been a shame to not be able to see it.

“I traveled from Cincinnati. I know that isn’t too far away, but I also traveled to Tennessee in 2017 and it was incredible,” a solar eclipse goer said.

He advised that he very well could have stayed home to watch the eclipse, but it would have not been a full view. After hearing Darke County would experience full totality and have great weather, he immediately booked his tickets to the Prairie.

“It is absolutely incredible, and it needs its moment to be appreciated,” He said. “In Tennessee it didn’t get as dark and was more like a twilight, but it was still eerie in a way. Just quiet.”

The Ted Yoder Band continuously gave a countdown leading up to totality. You could tell the band was just as excited as everyone else to be “mooned in the Darke”.

“You know what else people like -diamond rings,” the band said. “During the eclipse there will be a moment where it will look like a diamond ring. I’m sure it is every photographer’s dream here to perfectly capture that moment.”

At totality, the crowd quietly cheered in a whisper. For a moment time stood still, the world got quiet, and everyone in the Prairie cheered in a whisper “that’s so cool”, as they were in awe of the natural phenomenon.

Within the dark sky stood a ring that seemed to swell and glow as solar flares caused a sparkling appearance. Venus (a singular star) could be seen brightly and clearly to the right, and in the distance a dark sunset painted with bright oranges that faded into yellow before turning purple and blue. Almost like the occasional healing bruise that too many of us knew.

“There is beauty in everything, even in silence and darkness”, and in that moment time stood still and the world got quiet, Darke County truly understood what that quote truly means. Once the moon began to slowly move away, and the sun once again reappeared, the band started up again playing “Here Comes The Sun”, and a small voice from a child no more than five (years old) shouted,

“That was so totally cool!”

Due to popular demand, the Prairie will be taking orders for their Total Eclipse t-shirts again. Orders must be placed before April 20th. Order shirts at…/DarkeSideoftheMoon/Store

There are two options, shipped or pick up at Shawnee Prairie Preserve.

The Darke County Parks will be selling Solar Eclipse 2024 themed magnets and ornaments for pre-order. They are made of wood and can be personalized to the viewing location the eclipse was watched from. To order, contact Darke County Parks at 937-548-0165.

For more information regarding the Shawnee Prairie Reserve and affiliating parks visit

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

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