Travelers, residents view eclipse from downtown Lima

LIMA — The crowd atop the Market Street parking garage awed and applauded as the moon occluded the sun and rendered the city into darkness before everyone’s eyes Monday afternoon.

People from Virginia, Florida, Detroit and Fort Wayne journeyed to the center of Lima to view the total solar eclipse with a large group gathered for the ArtSpace/Lima event atop the garage.

“I’m amazed at how many states that they’re coming from,” said Elizabeth Leis, director of operations at The Met in downtown Lima. “It’s been fun, and I’m glad they’re finding us. They’re excited to be downtown and in Lima. I can’t believe how they planned some of these trips two years in advance.”

Barry Berg said coming from Virginia to take his mother, Francie, from her home in Coshocton to Lima as they celebrated their birthdays was an opportunity they could not pass up.

“I’ve been told by people online that once you see it, you just want to see it again because it’s indescribable,” he said.

Natasha Rickard brought her children, Achilles and Athena, from St. Marys to spend some quality time together and learn something about the world in the process.

“We’re excited because it kind of teaches us about space and science,” she said. “So we’re having fun with it.”

Lima residents Mike Minjock and Madison Beck said they were excited to take advantage of the ideal weather conditions, with temperatures in the low 70s, and location along the path of the celestial phenomenon.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s lining perfectly for us,” Minjock said.

Beck added, “We’re in the direct path, but people are having to travel, so it’s nice that we don’t have to go anywhere.”

Terrance Williams and Andy Weaver said they drove from Fort Wayne on the advice of Weaver’s brother, who was lucky to witness last year’s eclipse from his home in New Mexico.

“Unfortunately he couldn’t come to Indiana and these parts this time around, but he told me that you have to experience the totality,” said Weaver, clad in the appropriate Pink Floyd regalia. “That’s why we drove an hour away to get right here in the optimal place.”

Marilyn McKinley set up outside Veterans Memorial Civic Center and said she found special meaning when thinking of Native American traditions surrounding the eclipse phenomenon.

“I was at Serpent Mound two nights ago,” she said. “In their tradition, the eclipse means the renewal of the sun. It only seems right to be in Town Square surrounded by three buildings which are marking the renewal of interest in Lima right now.”

ArtSpace/Lima executive director Sally Windle said the parking garage rooftop event could not have gone better for such a momentous opportunity to gather the community.

“We had events up here for ArtSpace and the city of Lima before the pandemic, but to offer something that is not only a fundraiser but also a good community event is so fun,” she said. “It’s been great to have everybody here, not only as a crowd, but just to have them seeing this event at a really cool space. We’re hoping to have more here.”

After the sun reappeared, Draython Savoi, from just outside of Detroit, said he brought his wife Bernadette to the event after looking it up online.

“We were looking for a place where we could get the full eclipse totality,” he said. “And then I saw this event held by ArtSpace, and I told my wife that we were going to Lima. We love the arts community, and it was a two-hour trip, so we packed the car this morning and headed here.”

Brent Stoychoff, from West Palm Beach, Florida, said it was just nice to be around people for something so special.

“That’s the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s a cool thing to bring people together.”

Cincinnati resident Elizabeth Odum, who is originally from Lima, came with family to celebrate an event that she said reminded her of Carl Sagan’s musings in his book “Pale Blue Dot.”

“It’s a really special moment, and I can totally see why people chase eclipses to get the totality,” she said. “I think it was a wonderful moment of the community coming together, and it was personally moving to be reminded of how small we all are on this lovely little piece of rock.”

According to NASA, the next solar eclipse, an annular eclipse, will be visible in totality in South America this October.


See more stories about the eclipse.

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