Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
By Christi Mathis, SIU Communications • May 21, 2024

It’s the 45th season for one of Southern Illinois’ favorite summer traditions – the Sunset Concert Series – and this year’s exciting...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Salukis split doubleheader, advance to first Regional final since 2003
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 18, 2024

The SIU softball team is headed to its second-ever NCAA Regional final after beating California in back-to-back days in the Baton Rouge Regional...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Groff twins, defense send SIU to NCAA regional semifinals
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 17, 2024

Defense was the name of the game Friday as the SIU softball team took down the Cal Bears in the first round of NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge,...

“Be nowhere else on Earth”: The eclipse through the eyes of Makanda

Makanda+residents+and+visitors+from+all+over+gather+in+front+of+the+boardwalk+to+view+the+solar+eclipse+as+it+nears+totality+April+8%2C+2024+in+Makanda%2C+Illinois
Lylee Gibbs
Makanda residents and visitors from all over gather in front of the boardwalk to view the solar eclipse as it nears totality April 8, 2024 in Makanda, Illinois
Makanda residents and visitors from all over gather in front of the boardwalk to watch and take pictures of the solar eclipse totality April 8, 2024 in Makanda, Illinois. Makanda, a small town in southern Illinois home to nearly 600, saw both the 2017 and 2024 eclipse and served as ‘America’s Eclipse Crossroads’. (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

As the moon inches closer, covering the sun, millions of people across the states cheer as the 2024 solar eclipse reaches totality. Meanwhile, at 1:59:16 pm a multitude of people gather on the boardwalk in a small town of 600 people. Makanda, Illinois, served as America’s eclipse crossroads seeing both the 2017 and 2024 total solar eclipse. Many witnessed this phenomenon for the second time in their lives. 

With onlookers traveling from nearby towns or from places as far as Minnesota, the Makanda boardwalk was filled with people from all over. 

Carbondale native Kathryn King looks up towards the sun as the solar eclipse nears totality April 8, 2024 in Makanda, Illinois. (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

With a walk through the Rain Makers studio and up the Jägermeister lined stairway into a garden of greenery, bands performed throughout the day, only stopping to observe the totality of the eclipse. 

Advertisement

The first performance of the day was local band The Deciders, made up of Robert Russell holding the position of guitar player, Chris DiBiase the bassist and Jimmy Beers the band’s drummer. 

The Deciders performance started around 11:00 am and ran until 1:00pm, ending just as the eclipse began. 

Following the eclipse The Snowbird Streetband took the upstairs back porch of the boardwalk, which played the role of the makeshift stage for the afternoon. 

Betty’s Brink and Cody Dawkins started the Snowbird Streetband three years ago, a little while after they met in Alaska after the beginning of the COVID pandemic. 

“COVID was really the catalyst for this project. Because we were both in food service honestly, and those restaurants and stuff shut down so we had some time on our hands,” Brinks said.

Brinks followed with, “Yeah to think about it and regroup so that’s actually a good thing for us, for our lives.”

Brinks and Dawkins have been camping around southern Illinois for a while now. Currently they’re camping relatively close to the boardwalk, making their performance on April 8 quite convenient. 

Advertisement*

Cody Dawkins of Snowbird Streetband sings into the microphone during a performance following the total solar eclipse April 8, 2024 in Makanda, Illinois. Dawkins and bandmate Bettsy Brinks (not pictured) created their band after meeting in Alaska during COVID-19. The pair resides in southern Illinois and travel to Florida each year to play and sell music. (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

“Here’s what I want to get out of today. I just like to get our four and a half minutes of just that good stuff, and I’d like to see some solar mass ejections,” Brinks said. 

Those who traveled from nearby and those traveling nearly 11 hours, like Cathrine Marsh, all had something in common, they were on the hunt for the perfect spot to view the eclipse.

Marsh, a Minnesota native, made her “quest” to southern Illinois after all the stories her brother told her about his trip to Makanda back in 2017 for his eclipse viewing. 

“Well my brother [went] last time there was an eclipse and he said it was pretty… I was annoyed I couldn’t make it, and the way he explained it was, I can promise myself that I would make it to this one,” Marsh said.

She was on a mission to make it to southern Illinois for the 2024 eclipse. Her trip was nothing short of what she was wishing for. 

“I feel like I’ve been on what I call a quest. This morning I was in Benton which I kinda wanted to go a bit deeper. And well it’s a quest so that’s what you do you keep going until you find your spot. And last time my brother said you will find your people and, there you go, I have found my people so here l am,” Brinks said. 

After buying a handcrafted necklace from Dave, the Rainmaker, she found her post next to Hontas Farmer, a Master of Science and professor at the College of DuPage in northern Illinois. 

David Ralia attaches a ring to link a chain to a crossroad eclipse themed pendant April 8, 2024 at The Rainmaker studio in Makanda, Illinois. (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

Farmer traveled down from Chicago to relive her eclipse experience from 2017.

”Seven years ago I was right here, pretty much the same spot for the last eclipse. And how many people are gonna get to see an eclipse from the same place twice,” she said.

She traveled down with her 60MM Celestron refracting telescope with a solar filter and her laptop to live stream the eclipse. Her goal was to teach people about the eclipse through her telescope.

Hontas Farmer, a professor at the College of DuPage, looks at her solar telescope to broadcast the eclipse April 8, 2024 in Makanda, Illinois. Farmer spent the 2017 eclipse in nearly the same location with her telescope. (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

”I’m an educator and I’m a scientist, so I might as well do it [teach],” Farmer said. 

Another couple that happened to make their way to southern Illinois by chance at the time of the 2017 eclipse decided to make the five hour drive from Joplin, Missouri, again seven years later. 

Ron and Toni Kegerries said they wanted to be in the totality of the eclipse in Makanda because it’s a “neat little town.” 

“We found the town last time and it was such a neat place, lots of nice people, the shop owners are really nice,” Toni Kegerries said.

”Very eclectic,” Ron Kegerries added. 

The couple is retired, giving them more time to travel and view things like the eclipse. Usually when they’re traveling it’s finding somewhere new to fish, but they couldn’t miss the opportunity to see another eclipse in the town after they stumbled upon the event in 2017. 

”If it strikes our fancy we go,” Ron Kegerries said. 

Once totality hit, onlookers gathered on the spray painted line that makes its way through Makanda marking the line of totality. Once the moon had fully covered the sun and the “diamond ring” appeared onlookers cheered, dogs barked and everyone was clapping their hands in celebration of the momentous event. 

An orange spray painted line crosses over a yellow spray painted line of moon phases to signify the cross-over of the eclipse totality paths April 8, 2024 in Makanda, Illinois. (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

Makanda has been a hotspot for eclipse chasers for the last seven years after being the eclipse center of America twice. With town natives running shops selling everything from metal sculptures and ice cream to crystals and sage, the town is well known for its ability to never change.

”This little place? To me, it’s like stuck in time,” Ron Kegerries said. 

A pair of solar eclipse glasses reading ‘Be nowhere else on earth.” lay on a table on the Makanda Boardwalk April 8, 2024 in Makanda, Illinois. (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

News editor Joei Younker can be reached at [email protected].

 

Sports editor Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected]

 

Advertisement

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Daily Egyptian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *