A record crowd of 200 plus gathered at the Perry Public Library’s Solar Eclipse Watch Party in preparation for the highly anticipated solar eclipse. The noon program featured a presentation from Joe Cerwinske, Space Amateur, followed by a two kid-friendly activities which recreated the eclipse.


Cerwinske was asked to present for the event after discussing his interest in space with Mary Murphy, Library Director. His interest first took off after taking an Astronomy class in college.


“This is truly a rare opportunity that certainly does not come along very often,” said Cerwinske. “A total solar eclipse is perhaps the most uncommon celestial event that can be viewed from Earth without using a telescope, and we don’t have to travel that far to get a great view of it.”


Following the presentation, attendees were encouraged to stick around for the 1:06 p.m. eclipse showing, despite Monday’s overcast weather.


In preparation for the event, the Perry library was given 50 free solar eclipse glasses by the State Library, and later purchased an additional 100 glasses from NASA. The glasses were ordered five weeks in advance, a method that library typically does when planning ahead for specific programs.


The turnout for the event toppled a crowd of over 200, the largest event the library has held in seven years, Library Director, Mary Murphy said.


“We were expecting a lot because we’ve been getting a lot of phone calls about the glasses,” said Murphy. “It was about Thursday of last week we were looking at the weather forecast hoping we’d get a break in the clouds.”


The library provided snacks to attendees who ranged in all ages.


“I have had good feedback,” Murphy said after the program. “What’s so unique is that we have all ages and somehow this has taken on the imagination of everyone and they’re kind of realizing that this is special.”