With stunning hues of orange and red, the sun rose over corn fields and grain silos across southern Kentucky on Monday, a grand entrance of sorts on a day when the moon would end up stealing the show.
Nowhere else in the country experienced as much total darkness during the eclipse than Hopkinsville, two minutes and forty one seconds of near total darkness drew thousands to stand and camp out in farm fields usually empty aside from a passing combine.
“This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened in Crofton, Kentucky, absolutely. To be able to see the stars in the middle of the day,” said farmer Joe Cravens.
Streets here were filled with pickup trucks, minivans and RV’s with license plates from Ontario to New York, all loaded with families hoping to catch a glimpse of a once in a lifetime event.
“I bought my glasses for this in January of 2015. We just kept watching the weather and we ended up here,” said Ronda Brady who drove in from Ohio with her husband, son and parents.
Jesse Turner arrived in Hopkinsville Sunday night only to realize hotel rooms had sold out months ago.
“I slept in my car. I asked one hotel if I could get a pillow and a blanket. They said ‘sure,’ so I’m going to return it to them on my drive home,” he said sitting inside a diner in the small southern Kentucky town.
At Casey Jones distillery, thousands camped out in the field surrounding the property. Inside the gift store, moonshine made with corn sent into outer space was flying off the shelves.
As the moment of totality arrived, Courtney Carter said in her lawn chair bursting with excitement.
“It’s almost kind of scary! It’s happening, it’s happening!” she said as the sun began to disappear behind the moon.
“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever experience,” Courtney said with tears in her eyes.
Around her, cheers erupted as thousands of eclipse watchers sat, stunned by the complete darkness that suddenly surrounded them.
“We all came and experienced the same thing together. We’re here on this one planet and maybe we should quit squabbling so much,” said Thomas Crossfield.