Lexington County an excellent host during eclipse
Lexington County, SC (Paul Kirby) Lexington County was as always, an excellent host to visitors and residents alike during the Total Eclipse of 2017. Although there were people visiting from all over the world, there were almost no problems with behavior, and although traffic was heavy prior to, and after the event itself, the county was saturated in a peaceful atmosphere as the actual eclipse occurred.
The Ledger’s staff covered the event from three separate, and distinct spots across the Capital City Lake Murray area. Our coverage included Angelica Iglesias, who was tailgating at the SC State Fair Grounds, James Scaffe, who was enjoying the event, and the venue, with his family at the Lexington County Blowfish stadium, and Paul Kirby, who was enjoying it with family and friends from the waters of the Jewel of SC, beautiful Lake Murray.
On Lake Murray, there were thousands of boats, short of the hundreds of thousands that some predicted, but a lot none the less. Many were rafted together around islands, and adults and children alike, availed themselves of the cool waters of the lake.
On the pontoon boat that Paul Kirby enjoyed with Tracey Ward, and his family, we enjoyed Polka music, provided by 89-year-old Mr. Harry or “Car 54”, a retired syndicated disc jockey, and the true Polka King of the Midwest. The distinct music, imported more than a century ago from Eastern European countries like Poland and Slovenia, only added to the atmosphere with its upbeat, party rhythms. It was fun, and had everyone tapping their toes, and often singing along with the ones they were familiar with like the Beer Barrel Polka, a song I listened to and learned as a child.
At the Blowfish Stadium, James and his crew that included his son Brandon, provided a dose of comic relief constantly, with shenanigans that had everyone laughing as they anticipated the big event.
At the fairgrounds, the crowd seemed to be younger and they enthusiastically partied the day away. Angelica, a student at USC, joined right in, and had a blast along with many of the other students from the area. There were cars, trucks, RV’s and just about every type of chair, cooler, canopy, and grill, as the atmosphere was as much like the anticipation of a big football game, as it was of a once in a lifetime astrological event.
When the eclipse finally occurred, a hush fell across the entire area for a moment, and then a cheer arose. The huge crowd that had gathered around Lunch Island on the lake was so loud they were said to be heard as far away as the mouth of Bear Creek on the Chapin side; And yes, the Purple Martins were fooled into believing that night had arrived. Some, not all, flew in to roost on the sanctuary that the island has become. Others reported that the Cicadas began to sing, crickets chirped, and afterwards, the morning birds began their ritual of chirping a lovely tune to welcome what they thought was a new day. In short, it was an unbelievable.
Traffic almost came to a standstill as the moon crossed the sun. Cars lights came on, street lights began to shine, and it was night across our part of the world for just two minutes and some change.
The eclipse was a sight to behold. It cemented families, and friendships, as those who gathered together knew they were seeing something that only God could orchestrate. It truly was an event worth staying home from work, or delaying the start of school for.
Our first responders did a magnificent job of keeping the peace and making us safe. The staff at Capital City Lake Murray Country, spent countless hours preparing for our guest who showed up from everywhere you could imagine. It was a great welcome, a great day, but the word great doesn’t really cover the event itself. It was wondrous! I hope that I’m alive to see it all again.