The OPL moves outdoors for a solar eclipse party

Oneida Public library is hosting a community event for viewing the solar eclipse of the century on the site of the new OPL facility between S. Main St. and 456 Elizabeth St. Monday, Aug. 21, between 12:30 and 3 p.m.

The OPL’s Picnic under the Eclipse will offer free refreshments and the juggling of Gravitational Bull, plus face painting with astronomical themes for the children, before the main event. The solar eclipse starts soon after 1:00 p.m. and reaches its “maximum obscuration” (67 percent) at 2:38 p.m. EDT.

Special eclipse-viewing safety glasses, provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will be distributed free of charge among picnic participants at the start of the eclipse. Along with the glasses, viewers will receive special instructions to minimize the risk of eye damage when looking directly at the sun.

On hand will be demonstrations of Lego robotics by members of three local First Lego League teams: Geneworx Oughtamation, Everlasting EV3 and Holy Cross Academy’s high-school level Chinchillas.

OPL’s Youth Services Coordinator Megan Gillander will introduce the astronomical science to explain the eclipse to both children and adults.

“We are lucky to have a chance to share this historic celestial event with our kids,” Gillander said. “Such a rare event provides a great opportunity to discuss science and history together.”

Lunch will not be provided, but guests are encouraged bring their own, as well as lawn chairs or blankets for viewing comfort. The OPL will be providing free ice cream donated by Hershey’s, lemonade and baked goods donated by the Friends of the Oneida Public Library.

If the early afternoon of Aug. 21 is cloud-covered, the event will move indoors to the old library, 220 Broad St. NASA’s live streaming of the eclipse as it arcs across North America will be shown in the library’s Meeting Room.

The OPL eclipse party is free and open to all ages. Parking will be on the street only, since the new library lot continues to be a construction site.

For more information, stop by the Oneida Library, 220 Broad St., or call 315-363-3050 and ask for Megan Gillander.

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