All of Brecksville was looking up April 8

By Tia Began

The heavens aligned precisely for a great viewing event hosted by new mayor, Daryl Kingston, and the city of Brecksville for the April 8 solar eclipse, which could be viewed in totality across Northeast Ohio. 

The rare alignment positioned the moon between the sun and Earth, creating a shadow time for roughly 3 minutes and 49 seconds, allowing those in the path the opportunity to witness dusk in the middle of the afternoon. While it seems impossible for the sun, which is 400% bigger than the moon, to be completely blocked by the moon, the sun is also 400 times farther away and experts say this ‘syzygy’ occurs about once every 18 months – somewhere on the planet. 

The eclipse was just long enough for the crowd of approximately 500 gathered at Blossom Hill to react to the sudden fall of darkness at 3:13 p.m. At that time, after much anticipation, both in the weeks leading up to that day and even just a few hours prior, there was a hush and collective cheers among the crowd as a golden ring appeared around the moon.

Those in attendance at Brecksville’s Solar Party clapped, laughed and children danced and blew on mini bubble wands. Some individuals simply soaked in the sight while listening to music with serious sun-moon-space vibes, while others took photos and videos for loved ones to commemorate the moment.  

Interspersed throughout were a few owners of telescopes. A young man, Chase Davis of Leesburg, Virginia was there to use his new telescope. 

“It was a gift for my birthday, last August,” said Davis. He drove to Ohio with his father, Demetrius, and younger brother, Miles. He said his family chose Brecksville as a location “by using a chart. … It was in the path of 100% totality.” 

Blossom Hill was the ideal location to gather for the eclipse thanks to its elevation. At approximately 1,248 feet above sea level, it offers one of the highest and best views in Cuyahoga County. 

License plates on the vehicles in the parking lot demonstrated the Davis family wasn’t alone in selecting Brecksville as their choice destination, as vehicles representing New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland were among the many Ohio cars.

For the group gathered at Blossom Hill, the event enhanced the once-in-a-lifetime experience with spacious areas to sit, food trucks and eating areas for light refreshments and games and activities for younger children as they waited for the big moment. Also made available during the event were the ISO-certified glasses that were distributed by student volunteers from Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School as schools were closed for the day.

Kristen Kouri, an employee of the city of Brecksville, said she was “very excited to be able to view this with the community.

“The last total solar eclipse visible in our area was in 1806, and the next won’t occur here until 2099, so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for so many,” she said. 

Cassandra El-Khoury, administrative assistant to the mayor, said the burst of awe and energy that unfolded that afternoon as the eclipse moved into totality was awesome.

“It was truly a spectacular moment that individuals will remember forever,“ she said. ∞

Brecksville-Broadview Heights High
School volunteers pass out ISO-certified
glasses guests used to watch the eclipse
April 8. Photo by Tia Began.

The April 8 solar eclipse was viewed in
totality for the first time in Brecksville
since 1806. Jupiter and a handful of other
planets could also be spotted in the midafternoon
sky. Photo by Tia Began.

On our cover (photo): Chase Davis and his family traveled from Virginia to Brecksville to view the solar eclipse in totality. He brought along his telescope for some extra-special views. Photo by Tia Began.