PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Perryville, Missouri has already started their solar eclipse festivities. On Saturday, Aug. 19 the town unveiled its sundial for the upcoming solar eclipse.
Crowds gathered around the courthouse as part of the SolarFest which had several activities going on including ChalkFest, vendors, food, music and of course the unveiling of their sundial.
People came from afar to experience the festivities leading up to the big event on Monday, Aug. 21.
Julie Dunlap and her son took a 770 mile drive from Houston, Texas to Perryville to see the eclipse.
"Really excited," Dunlap said. Her son echoed, "Me too, I'm really excited." Dunlap added, "It's a once in a lifetime event. We're ready to see it."
Dunlap felt it was important to bring her son along to witness this remarkable event.
"I think it's a once in a lifetime thing to see," Dunlap said. "I really want my kids to see it and be a part of it. I really like that we are able to, we are from a big city so I like that we can come to a small town and experience the local festivities and the local charm."
They along with several others checked out the new sundial. It was installed on July 25 on the Perry Courthouse lawn and will be used to commemorate the eclipse that moves through the area on August 21.
"There will be markings on it to indicate that date. Markings to indicate the time when the eclipse starts and the time when it ends," American Sundial Society member Don Snyder said.
Before they unveiled the sundial, many spoke about the importance of having the sundial in Perryville and what it means to the community. Many organizations worked on this project together including Earthworks, the American Sundial Society, St. Louis Stone Artist Abraham Mohler, the City of Perryville and more.
After the eclipse occurs, the sundial will forever hold the time it happened.
"We just wanted something after the eclipse is over with that the community can be proud of and reflect back on," Perry County Heritage Tourism Director Trish Erzfeld said.
Snyder said this is a one of a kind sundial and is unique to the area. And while sundials are obsolete now, they were popular many years ago.
"People have been using the sun to tell time and tell the date for many, many years. Centuries!" Snyder added.
One woman who saw the sundial came from Portugal to be a part of the festivities.
"I think it's all perfect. People are all so nice, so welcoming, so interesting they talking to me. What I think, what I'm feeling. It's just over my expectations," Carla Bereira of Porto, Portugal said.
She feels this is one of the best experiences of her life.
"It will be a first for me. I have never seen a total eclipse before. I started preparing this trip a year ago," Bereira added.
Bereira is a Physics and Chemistry teacher and said this sundial and activities will help her teach students in her classroom.
"I teach kids from 12 years old on and well there are some activities that I've already seen here that I would be able to do with them. So it will be profitable," Bereira said.
These are just a couple of activities they are going on this eclipse weekend in Perryville leading up to the main event which is the solar eclipse on Monday.