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What to expect when you’re expecting a total eclipse

This article will be updated and reposted in the coming weeks as needed. Have a location that will be closed? Email [email protected].

By Paula Pyzik Scott

The April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse is bringing with it a virtual storm of eclipse advice and promotions. The Icon readership area spans four counties, quadrupling the amount of information available.

Do you know where you’ll be on the afternoon of April 8? Will you hunker down at home? Head to work as usual? Travel to be with a crowd to “Ooooh” and “Aaaaahhhh” together?

We’ve sifted through local and national resources to provide you with the following tips on what to expect when you’re in the “path of totality” of a total solar eclipse, which includes the communities of Ada and Bluffton.

Based on previous eclipses in other parts of the country, law enforcement agencies expect the number of people in our area to double with incoming eclipse tourism. If this area has cloud cover, eclipse followers will pick up and move to find clearer skies.

Law enforcement agencies are encouraging residents to be prepared for traffic jams and for shortages of gasoline. Bluffton and Ada Schools will be closed. Bluffton University and Ohio Northern University have canceled classes; their campuses will also be closed to the public. Have property that would be tempting to impromptu guests? Post "No Trespassing" signs if visitors are not welcome.

Consider rescheduling non-emergency appointments on April 8 and be ready with essential groceries and medications. Make sure locations are open and regularly scheduled events are occurring as usual before getting on the road. 

Expressway backups of several hours can take place in connection with eclipse traffic. Come early and don’t be in a hurry to leave is standard advice.

Cell phone service could also be maxed out with the increase in visitors to the area. Paper maps could be a useful resource for people coming to the area.

In the 45810 and 45817 area codes, the Duration of Totality–when the moon will totally cover the sun–will be 3 minutes and 47 seconds, from approximately 3:10-3:14 p.m. The sky will begin to darken at 1:55 p.m. and return to normal at 4:26 p.m. 

It is not safe to look directly at the sun, including during the minutes leading up to the full eclipse and after it. Special eclipse glasses are being offered by many local businesses and organizations. Look for ISO-approved solar-eclipse glasses that include labels with the name of the manufacturer, instructions for safe use and warnings of the dangers of improper use. 

Another way to experience the drama of the eclipse is with pinhole projection. With the sun behind you, you can look at the light passing through a small hole in an index card or even a kitchen colander onto a smooth surface. The sun’s changing shape will be projected in little crescents and then little rings.

Ada area locations:

War Memorial Park will have public restrooms open. The football stadium and playground will be open and food trucks are being scheduled.

Liberty Oaks venue, 0395 St, OH-235, is hosting a parking lot viewing event with Slow Smokin' BBQ and Circle U Waffle food trucks. Boondocking is $100 by reservation only. $10 parking, $5 solar eclipse glasses. Bring your lawn chair and/or blanket.

Harrod Event Center will have live music, food trucks and bounce houses near the soccer field. Parking $5/car.

Bluffton locations:
Have a location for paid or free viewing? Email [email protected].


American Astronomical Society 

NASA Eclipse Explorer

Basic preparation tips

Hardin County promotions

Public Safety 



Memories of 2017 eclipse in Kentucky by Pam Cottrel, Springfield News-Sun
Concerns about total eclipse are real