Your guide to eclipse weekend’s events and entertainment



Idaho Falls braces for the world as eclipse-mania sweeps the small town. (Dreamstime/TNS)

By Kitt Fresa

As eclipse day draws closer and closer, so does the surge of an estimated 50,000-100,000 tourists to the southern Illinois area. With that crowd in mind, city and university officials have prepared an array of events designed to entertain visitors and locals alike for the eclipse and the weekend leading up to it. Listed below are the best places to visit and explore while you await the astronomical phenomenon’s arrival.   

Crossroads Festival, 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 – 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, Lot 18, SIU Arena

Kicking off Friday and running through eclipse day, this festival will feature a carnival, plentiful food and live rock and country music for every eclipse-watcher to enjoy. Over a dozen different food and beverage vendors, including local options, will be available. For more information regarding times, visit

Galaxy Ride Events, 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 – 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, various locations

This workshop, sponsored by Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, will offer attendees a chance to talk to real astronomers about their questions regarding the eclipse. Look through a telescope and learn how eclipses work, find out the size and scale of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, how fast light speed is and more. For more information regarding times and locations, visit

Moonstock 2017, 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 – 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, Walker’s Bluff

Walker’s Bluff will be hosting a huge lineup of great performers throughout eclipse weekend, including Black Stone Cherry, Halestorm, Five Finger Death Punch and Ozzy Osbourne, who will perform “Bark at the Moon” during the eclipse at 1:21 p.m. Monday. Camping space is available but filling up quickly — to check out the lineup and reserve tickets, visit

Eclipse Comic Con, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19 and Sunday, Aug. 20, Student Center Ballrooms

The first ever Comic Con hosted by the university will include over 50 vendors, a VIP autograph area with special guests such as comic creators and animators, a costume competition with cash prizes and a gaming zone for board and video gamers. For more information, visit 

Crossroads Eclipse 2017 Research Workshop, 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, Student Center Auditorium


Learn all about the science behind the eclipse and see research presentations from scientists, professors and students. Featured talks include “The Citizen CATE Experiment: Continuous Coverage of the Inner Solar Corona,” “The Citizen Science Approach to Measuring the Polarization of Solar Corona” and “The National Effort to View the Moon’s Shadow from the Edge of Space.” For more information and to see a listing of all presentations that will be given at the workshop, visit

Carbondale Eclipse Marketplace, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 and Sunday, Aug. 20 and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, First Mid-Illinois Bank Parking Lot

This event includes live music, food, drinks and vendors to for Carbondale’s astronomically-inclined visitors. Some of the performers featured are local artists, such as The Spiritual Travelers and The Swamp Tigers. For more information, visit  


Carbondale Family Fun Zone 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 and Sunday, Aug. 20 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, Carbondale Town Square Pavilion

The Carbondale Family Fun Zone will be the perfect place for families who want to experience the eclipse together. Music, food, games and prizes, kids crafts, a bouncy house and a 20-foot water slide will all be offered for parents and kids alike to enjoy. For more information, visit

Shadow Fest, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 and Sunday, Aug. 20, Carbondale Washington St Venue

Performances during this two-day concert series include tribute bands for Green Day, Fleetwood Mac and U2, as well as ‘80s tribute performers and local musicians. For more information, visit

Crossroads Astronomy Science and Technology Expo, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 and Monday, Aug. 21, SIU Arena

SIU is hosting this expo to highlight, “organizations and businesses that specialize in solar, astronomy, science and new technology,” according to the university’s eclipse website. Attendees to this event will have a chance to see science and technology talks, indoor planetariums and NASA eclipse equipment. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Crossroads Art & Craft Fair, 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, north of the SIU Arena

More than 50 art and craft vendors from across the country will gather to sell handmade pottery, glass, jewelry, wood, eclipse-related items and more. For more information, visit

Planetary Radio Live with Host Mat Kaplan, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, Shryock Auditorium

Join Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan for two interactive panel discussions about the eclipse The Q&A sessions will cover eclipse basics and what to expect on eclipse day, amateur astronomy, astrophotography and more. For more information, visit

Eclipse Day at Saluki Stadium (ticketed) Gates, 9am, 10am – 3pm, Saluki Stadium

The university will hold a massive viewing of the eclipse hosted by Planetary Radio Live host Mat Kaplan with programming by NASA EDGE, the NASA 2017 Eclipse Team, the Adler Planetarium of Chicago and the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium. Live video of the eclipse and eclipse programming will play on the scoreboard and experts will help viewers prepare for what to expect. Two high-altitude balloons will be launched from the field and there will be performances by the Marching Salukis. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. with programming beginning at 10:00 a.m. The eclipse will begin at 1:21 pm and will last for 2 minutes and 38 seconds, and eclipse glasses will be provided. For more information and to reserve a ticket, visit

Eclipse in Makanda, August 21st


Makanda, a village of 500 people, is the true epicenter for the total solar eclipse. Known for being home to many artists, the town has also just opened up a new eclipse information center and restaurant, the Eclipse Kitchen. Makanda will again be the center of a total solar eclipse in 2024, forming an ‘x’ where the two eclipse paths cross. Tens of thousands of people are expected in and around Makanda to view the phenomenon. For more information, visit

Staff writer Kitt Fresa can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @kittfresa.


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