UNK says plan ahead; Shares final update on Monday’s eclipse Watch Party

When: Monday, Aug. 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (gates open at 10:30)
Where: UNK Cope Stadium/Foster Field
Cost: Free
Parking/logistics: unk.edu/eclipse

KEARNEY – Planners expect a full stadium Monday during the free community solar eclipse Watch Party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Cope Stadium.

Their best advice is to arrive early, expect traffic and parking delays, and plan for some hot sun before it goes dark.

“There is so much excitement for this eclipse, including here at UNK where we are getting ready for thousands of guests to watch, learn and enjoy a memorable event,” said Kelly Bartling, assistant vice chancellor for communications and community relations. “We have no idea what to expect, so we’re planning for this as a large festival, with typical traffic, parking and other crowd needs. Our primary goal is for people to enjoy themselves, and they can help us by planning ahead.”

Kelly Bartling
Kelly Bartling

Bartling recommends guests bring a hat, sunscreen, cash for concessions – no credit or debit cards will be accepted – a blanket or towel to sit on, and to pack light. Don’t bring food or coolers, chairs, large bags, umbrellas or sunshades.

The free event, presented by UNK and NRG Media’s central Nebraska radio stations (Y102, Hits 106 and KGFW 1340/96.1 in Kearney, and Classic Rock 101.5 and 107.7 The Island in Grand Island) brings the community to Kearney’s largest venue to watch the celestial spectacle while having fun, food and music.

Games, physical activities, prizes, giveaways and plenty of “sun-related” music will be the entertainment.

Learning opportunities and commentary will come from several UNK faculty, including Doug Biggs, Tim Reece, Nate Bickford, Adam Jensen, James Rohrer, and others.

Doors to Cope Stadium will open at 10:30 a.m. There is no admission.

Eclipse “glasses” needed to safely watch the eclipse are available for everyone who enters the stadium for the event, with 10,000 available – first come first served. Once the glasses run out, guests will need to have their own to enter. Parking is available on nearby residential streets and at Memorial Field eight blocks north of campus near 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue.

Concessions will be open for lunch offerings – cash only. Guests are welcome to bring blankets or towels to sit on the field, or seating is in the stadium stands.

Bartling encouraged people who have glasses to bring them, allowing others to have access. The glasses UNK is giving away are the proper, certified ISO for eclipse viewing.

More than 2,300 students from the surrounding area – from more than 150 miles in some cases – are registered to attend. Some 160 volunteers have been recruited to help with the event. UNK students and faculty/staff have been given a break in their day to attend, with classes canceled from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. UNK student dining will be in the stadium.

Some details about the total eclipse: Kearney will experience totality (total coverage) at 12:57:30 p.m. and the duration is 1 min., 54 seconds. Partial coverage begins at Kearney at about 11:30 a.m. and continues until about 2:30 p.m.

UNK, Kearney Visitors Bureau, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and Ravenna Chamber of Commerce have collaborated on events during the entire weekend including activities, speakers, entertainment and planetarium hours to capture tourists and community involvement.

Kearney and Ravenna are said to have one of the best and longest views of the Great American Solar Eclipse. The next total solar eclipses in North America will be in 2024, 2045 and 2099, but none will occur over Nebraska.


Media Contact: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454, gottulatm@unk.edu
Source: Kelly H. Bartling, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Communications and Community Relations, 308-865-8455