With the long-anticipated solar eclipse just a few days away, the city and other organizations are putting the final touches to the multitude of events set for this weekend.
City Administrator Travis Dierker said in addition to citywide cleanups that have been taking place, maintenance workers are in the process of doing street sweepings and mowing lawns.
“We’re continuing to just tidy things up,” Dierker said.
He added that there will be porta potties available during the weekend and at viewing locations on Monday. Other organizations such as the East Central Disc Golf Club has been meeting every Sunday to clean up different areas around town including Main Street, parks and more.
Starting Friday, Aug. 18, there will be a space theme parade beginning at 7 p.m. at St. Clair High School, followed by fireworks at 8 p.m. at Orchard Park.
Sponsored by the parks department, there will be popcorn, Moon Pies and other treats. Entries into the parade will be accepted until the day of the parade as long as waiver forms are filled out, according to Dierker.
A “Cruisin’ the Eclipse on Route 66” car show will take place Sunday, Aug. 20, on Main Street. Registration is from 8 to 11 a.m.
The entry fee is $20 and display fee is $10.
There will be live music and food vendors starting at noon. For more information, visit stclaireclipse.com or call 636-629-1889.
During the car show, the St. Clair Historical Museum will have a special exhibit featuring two speakers who will talk about science, history and folklore of eclipses.
The exhibit also will take place Monday, Aug. 21, in downtown. For more information, visit stclairmomuseum.org.
There will be an inaugural Bluegrass Festival Saturday, Aug. 19, at Orchard Park starting at 9:30 a.m.
The festival is sponsored by Jump Start and proceeds will go toward the opening of a new community center, according to Paula Dace, treasurer for Jump Start.
The festival will start with a presentation of colors at 9:30 a.m. with music from at 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Performers include The Clay Hess Band, The Baker Family, The Sterlings, Spike and Janis Huff, Kelsey Brook, and Highway 32.
“The folks at Jump Start are thrilled to be bringing so much great bluegrass music to the area,” Dace said.
Tickets are $25 for one and $50 for a family pass. In addition to food vendors and music, there will be two raffle drawings. One will be for Cardinal baseball box seats with valet parking. Raffle tickets will be $5 for six, $10 for 13 or $20 for 30 tickets. The other item is a Fender guitar donated by River City Music. Raffle tickets will be $10 apiece.
She said volunteers are needed for parking and to work concessions. Jump Start is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit jumpstartstclair.com.
“It’s been nice to have the city and many other organizations work together to collaborate and come up with a group of events that will work for the entire community and visitors,” Dierker said.
With the Department of Homeland Security’s prediction that the St. Clair population will more than triple in size during the week of Aug. 18-21 for the viewing of the eclipse, Police Chief Bill Hammack recommends residents leave earlier than usual to get to destinations.
He said there could be traffic issues and delays on major highways such as Highway 47, Highway 30 and Interstate 44. Hammack also advises residents to shop for groceries and fill up on gas prior to the weekend.
All hands will be on deck with 14 officers working 12-hour shifts this weekend providing security details and circulating through the city, according to Hammack.
Fire Chief Craig Sullivan said there will be increased staff at Fire Stations 1 and 2 with some added personnel at Fire Station 3. With the influx of people on Monday, calls for service will likely increase.
He added that plans are in place for mutual aid help from surrounding communities if needed.
Additionally, Dierker said for residents to be patient with the expected number of visitors predicted.
“Take time to enjoy (the eclipse), but make sure to follow all of the safety recommendations with glasses, with the photography,” Dierker said.
St. Clair R-XIII and Lonedell R-XIV School Districts will be closed the day of the solar eclipse Aug. 21.
St. Clair Superintendent Kyle Kruse said areas on school campuses including the football, softball and baseball fields will be blocked off to the public, but parking lots will remain open.
“We’re actually making our facilities available to any of the first responding agencies, the police, fire department, ambulance and whatever they need, we’ll provide,” Kruse said.
The solar eclipse will begin Monday, Aug. 21, at 11:48 a.m. and the sun is expected to enter totality by 1:15:42 p.m. until 1:18:24 p.m. with the sun emerging from partial eclipse at 2:43:28 p.m., according to the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce’s website.
The eclipse will pass immediately over the city limits of St. Clair, on the southern end, near St. Clair High School.
Viewing sites for the eclipse include Orchard Park, the Plaza Loop, The VFW, the American Legion, downtown St. Clair, St. John United Church of Christ and Evergreen Park.