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Celebrate the Solar Eclipse with Three Days of Events at Gorges State Park

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Roy Cooper, Governor
Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary
Release Note: 
Katie Hall
Release Date: 
Friday, August 4, 2017

Celebrate the Solar Eclipse with Three Days of Events at Gorges State Park

Raleigh -- Gorges State Park in Sapphire, N.C. will host three days of events related to the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. The events, sponsored by Friends of Gorges State Park, will begin on Saturday, Aug. 19 and are free and open to the public.

The park lies in a small area of western N.C. that is in the “path of totality”—the part of Earth that will lie entirely in the moon’s shadow as it blocks the sun.

Visitors are invited to three days of programming and events related to the eclipse. “Nature Day” on Aug. 19 will include nature hikes, eclipse themed arts and crafts, and programs on moon phases, eclipses, and astronomy. Music and special entertainment including falconry demonstrations will be featured on “Fun Day,” Aug. 20. On the day of the eclipse, Aug. 21, the park will host live music throughout the day including Tina Eno, Blue Ridge Bakery Boys, and Quarter House Band beginning at 10 a.m.

Steve Pagano, superintendent of Gorges State Park, is thrilled to host visitors for the once-in-a-lifetime event. “Gorges State Park truly is a special place for this spectacular event. At an elevation of over 3,000 feet with a host of fun and educational eclipse activities, Gorges will be one of the best places to view the eclipse in the United States.”

The Aug. 21 event will begin with an early park opening at 5 a.m. Food trucks, established eclipse viewing areas, educational activities, and live music will be offered from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. The eclipse begins at 1:07 p.m. with “totality”—the total eclipse of the sun by the moon—beginning at 2:36 p.m. and lasting two minutes and 17 seconds. The partial eclipse will continue until 4:01 p.m. Safety glasses are recommended for viewing all but the totality of the eclipse and will be provided on site while supplies last.

Visitors should arrive as early as possible and plan to spend the entire day at the park. Park staff asks that visitors settle in a designated viewing location by 11 a.m. Traffic is expected to be heavy in the area, and volunteers will be on site to direct traffic to the park. The park entrance will be closed as soon as parking capacity is reached.

Gorges State Park offers plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and a high concentration of rare species. The park features backcountry-style recreation including hiking, backpack camping, trout fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding. It incorporates a portion the long-distance Foothills Trail and meets Lake Jocassee at the South Carolina border. More information about the park and events offered there can be found at and

Friends of Gorges State Park, a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity whose mission is to develop, encourage and promote public awareness of Gorges State Park of North Carolina. Funds raised by the Friends of Gorges are used to purchase educational and scientific equipment, to fund research at the park, and to provide materials and facilities that enhance recreation in the park.