By Lauren Brant
All eyes were looking up at Smith Lake as the total solar eclipse passed over southern Sheridan County on Monday, August 21.
Prior to the eclipse, scattered clouds blew through the area as people pulled out their lawn chairs. Rushville Chamber President Kris House said she came up with the idea after a friend asked her what the chamber was planning for the eclipse. Smith Lake was chosen, as the location sits within the path of totality. “I wanted people to come together,” said House.
As the eclipse continued on it’s path, people made remarks as the moon made a Cheshire Cat grin appear and as the diamond ring glistened in the sky.
Evelyne Snyjder and Ankye Havinga were visiting family in South Dakota from the Netherlands and they decided to spend the weekend in Rushville before the eclipse. They said people have been kind and helpful giving them directions to Smith Lake and helping them make a call home.
As the sun and moon crossed paths, everyone kept a watchful eye for totality. As the earth became dark and the temperature dropped, the crowd became quiet as everyone looked in awe at this historical event. Once it reached totality, people quickly removed their glasses and took pictures of the glowing disc.
Anna Janssen said the eclipse was bright and the experience was exhilarating.
Melissa Mracek of the Nebraska Extension Office said it was “like I saw something I’ll probably never see again.”
During the preclipse celebration, the Rushville Chamber had events at the golf course. They sold 75 steaks in 40 minutes and sold out of 500 pairs of eclipse glasses. Any proceeds the chamber makes will go toward new city signs, which will be created by a Sandhills Institute artist.
NASA estimated roughly 300 million people across America saw the solar eclipse in its entirety.