NASHVILLE, Tennessee — The total solar eclipse on Monday amazed a sold-out crowd at First Tennessee Park north of downtown.
The park is home to the Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team. It was one of many venues where people from near and far came to watch the solar eclipse in Nashville, the largest U.S. city in the path of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun.
“Nashville knows how to throw a party, and we’re doing that here,” Mayor Megan Barry told reporters by the third-base dugout before the eclipse. She was joined by Booster the Hot Chicken, the Nashville Sounds mascot. Though a chicken, Booster was a ham in front of the cameras, posing playfully and wearing what appeared to be gigantic eclipse glasses.
Barry said that the 8,000 people at the ballpark came from 35 states and 10 countries. More than one million visitors were in town for the eclipse, she said.
Adam Nuse, general manager for the Sounds, said players were happy to be in Nashville for the eclipse and not on the road. The Sounds were set to play a home game later Monday against the Iowa Cubs.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” said Sounds catcher Ryan Lavarnway as he looked forward to watching the eclipse.
Monday’s event featured remarks by Mayor Barry, Scott Bolton of NASA’s Mission Juno and a short performance by the Nashville Symphony as the eclipse neared the time of totality. The Adventure Science Center also helped with the event.
People in the stands marveled at what they were able to see with their solar glasses, despite some cloud cover, as they gazed at the sun as the eclipse began and progressed. Glasses were provided with their event tickets.
Darkness descended over the stadium at the time of totality close to 1:30 p.m. Lights in city buildings shone in the background, underscoring the feeling that it was nighttime. The temperature dropped seven degrees at the ballpark, offering a brief respite from the intense heat, though not by much. Temperatures topped 90 degrees Monday.
Soon after the time of totality came and went, people filed out of the stadium. But some realized there was still a sight to see as the moon continued moving off the sun, and they put their eclipse glasses back on for one more stunning view.
The last total solar eclipse in Nashville was on July 29, 1478, well before Nashville became a city. The next total solar eclipse in Nashville will be in 2556.