Remembering the 2017 solar eclipse on its five-year anniversary

Posted at 8:07 PM, Aug 22, 2022

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (WTVF) — It's hard to believe it's now been five years since a moment that brought the world's attention to southern Kentucky and middle Tennessee. One community has plenty to remember that historic day.

A normal day in Hopkinsville, Kentucky might be lunch at Ferrell's Hamburgers, maybe a quick drive through Whistle Stop Donuts on the way back to work. Five years ago was not just a normal day.

"The big eclipse!" laughed resident Deana Holdman. "It was just plum cool."

"It was this astronomical event, that we were selected for by the universe," added Hopkinsville-Christian County Executive Director of Tourism Brooke Jung.

"We've always considered us to be a little small town, but that day, it didn't feel so small," smiled Hailee Isom of the Apron Wife shop. "I didn't know what to expect."

The three remember the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse like it was yesterday.

"The point of greatest eclipse was Orchard Dale Farm in the northern part of Christian County," said Jung. "It was designated by NASA as the point of greatest eclipse. This moment thrust us into the national spotlight."

After years of preparation, Hopkinsville was ready for the big day.

"We turned all our parks into campsites and viewing locations," Jung remembered.

"I guess it was a big anticipation, almost like Christmas, you know!" said Holdman.

Then came the actual moment of the eclipse.

"Standing in that shadow, feeling it get a little cooler out, you could start to hear the animals and the birds start chirping," said Jung. "Everything got serene. It was just such a magical time."

"I just thought, 'oh my,'" said Holdman. "It was just beautiful. That's one of God's creations, and he just did it all."

Jung said the eclipse brought 116,000 people to the area and had a $28.5 million dollar economic impact.

"I still love seeing people drive around with solar eclipse license plates on their cars," she added. "Our Kiwanis Club made special ornaments."

Murals and art pieces around Hopkinsville also remember the eclipse.

"We all pulled together, just to make the thing happen," said Holdman.

For that, many will forever be proud of a city that forever carries the nickname: Eclipseville.