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Total Eclipse of the Parks: How Oxford is preparing to celebrate a historic solar spectacle

As the community gears up for a historic solar eclipse on April 8, the City of Oxford is sponsoring a series of events entitled “Total Eclipse of the Parks” to learn about, celebrate and observe this astronomical feat. The eclipse is said to arrive at 1:53 p.m. and will enter totality at 3:08 p.m. for 2 minutes and 51 seconds.

While many lectures and activities already occurred in March, eclipse weekend celebrations will begin April 5 and last through Monday when the eclipse occurs.

The Imminent Solar Eclipse

On Thursday, April 4 from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., the Institute for Learning in Retirement and the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum will be hosting a lecture by physics professor Stephen Alexander entitled “The Imminent Solar Eclipse.” Alexander will discuss the upcoming eclipse and how viewers can best experience the solar exhibition.

The event will take place in the auditorium of the museum located at 801 South Patterson Avenue. An online option is also offered and registration is required to participate in either format. Students and community members who are interested can reserve a free ticket.

2001: A Space Odyssey movie screening

The Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum will be hosting a screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” on Friday, April 5 at 2 p.m.

Complimentary eclipse glasses, snacks and refreshments will be offered. More information and registration for the event can be found on Miami’s website.

Mister C: Air Is Everywhere

The Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC) will be hosting scientist Mister C for an evening of science experiments exploring the properties of air. At 7 p.m. on April 5, attendees will delve into the world of lab-science ahead of the astronomical wonder.

Adult tickets are being sold for $7, while children age 12 and under can attend for $5. The show is part of a series of Magic Carpet Family Performances put on by OCAC. These are designed to be family-friendly for ages Pre-K through eighth grade, but all ages are welcome.

Eclipse Festival

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From 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on April 6, Uptown Parks will be filled with live music, food trucks, exclusive eclipse-themed craft beers and other vendors and activities to kick off celebrations.

The party is family-friendly and free to attend. Community members and students should note that East & West Park Place, Main Street and sections of High Street will be closed for the duration of the festival. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

Space Race

At 9 a.m. on April 7, both 5k and 10k races will be held within the Oxford Area Trails. The race will begin at Leonard Howell Park.

Registration costs $35 for both distances and can be signed up for on their website.

Space Movie Marathon

Throughout the day on April 7, several space-themed movies will be shown on-campus and in the community.

From 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oxford Lane Library will be showing “Muppets From Space.” The movie is open to all ages and includes snacks and crafts for viewers.

At 3 p.m., the Senior Center located at 922 Tollgate Drive will be showing the sci-fi film “Cocoon.”

For those looking to remain on campus, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” will be shown at 4 pm. in the Wilks Theater at Armstrong Student Center.

The Oxford Community Arts Center will be showing “The Martian” at 5:30 p.m., before the marathon ends in The Oxford Memorial Park at 8:30 p.m. with “E.T.”

RSVPs via Facebook are encouraged and will provide additional information about the event.

The Eclipse

After gearing up over the weekend, the Miami students and the Oxford community will be able to attend watch parties throughout the city from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Parties will be hosted at Uptown Parks, Oxford Community Park and Sculpture Park at the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum. Miami University will be hosting an on-campus party at Cook Field from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and live music by The Thumbtack Mechanics will be enjoyed by those at Uptown Parks.

Oxford has not been in the path of totality in more than two-hundred years, and it's predicted that the city won’t experience another eclipse until 2099, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event. 

A comprehensive list of the events, along with Eclipse FAQs, can be found on Oxford’s website.