COLUMBIA — From music and beer to bike rides and viewing parties, Columbia offers a weekend full of fun events and activities for visitors to celebrate a total eclipse of the sun on Monday.

The last time the moon completely covered the sun to make the "corona" viewable in Missouri was 1869, nearly 150 years ago.

This time, Missouri is located on the center line of the eclipse, which is expected to begin in Salem, Oregon, and travel across the county to South Carolina, lasting a total of 94 minutes. 

Totality will start at 1:12 p.m. in Columbia, which is directly in the eclipse path. This means thousands of people are coming to witness the event during one of the longest spans, more than 2½ minutes.

Columbia's population could double on Monday, with at least 100,000 visitors expected from across the country, according to Megan McConachie, strategic communications manager for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

To mark the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle, the city has organized the Show-Me Totality festival. It is packed with activities and parties for locals and visitors from Saturday, Aug. 19, until the main event on Monday in Cosmo Park.

For more information on the Show-Me Totality events, visit Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau website,

Movie night

8:30 p.m. Saturday

A free screening of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" will kick off festivities at Cosmo Park, followed by activities and games for children and educational demonstrations about astronomy and eclipse throughout the weekend.

The Totality Run

9 a.m. Sunday

This walk/run begins  at the skate park in Cosmo Park along the Bear Creek Trail. It then goes over a crushed limestone path through creeks, wetlands, wooden boardwalks and forested areas.

The registration fee costs $25 for runners 15 or younger and $35 for adults. Participants can choose between running and walking a 5k or 10k. Registered participants will receive a T-shirt, eclipse viewing glasses and a free drink at the end of the race, including beer for the adults. 

The Totality Ride

11 a.m. Sunday

This 9.6-mile bike ride follows  the same path as the walk/run on the Bear Creek Trail to Albert Oakland Park. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Riders will leave Cosmo Park between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to travel 4.8 miles to Oakland Park, where they will stop for lunch featuring Shakspeare's Pizza and live musical performance. Riders will return to Cosmo Park to conclude the race and receive a complimentary drink. Registration costs $25 for runners 15 or younger and $35 for adults.

Totality Music Fest

Sunday and Monday

A free concert featuring a variety of acts will also take place Sunday and Monday. Local group Bockman will open up the festival at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, followed by Violet and the Undercurrents. St. Louis Sprockets Stunt Bike Show demonstrations will accompany musical performances.  Beer and food trucks will be available throughout the festival. A full line up and schedule of the concert can be found in the Show-Me Totality website.

Eclipse viewing parties

11 a.m. Monday

There will be two separate viewing parties hosted by the city on the day of the eclipse, one at the Cosmo Park, 1615 Business Loop 70, and the another at Gans Creek Recreation Area, 3360 E. Gans Creek Road. 

• Como Park viewing: A viewing party begins at 11 a.m. on Monday with a presentation of the national solar eclipse postage stamp, followed by a gig in continuation of the music festival. The concert will then pause in preparation for the total eclipse at 1:12 p.m. and continue at 1:30 p.m. Cosmo Park will provide ample open space for attendees to view the spectacle.

• Gans Creek Recreation Area viewing:  Located near Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, south of Columbia, it offers 320 acres of open spaces and expansive viewing areas for those looking for a quieter solar experience. 

Parking and shuttles

Columbia offers free shuttle rides to Cosmo Park on the day of the eclipse from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Available parking will be at a premium. 

The Convention and Visitors Bureau encourages visitors to park at the Columbia Mall on 2300 Bernadette Drive and wait in front of the Cafe Court at the mall for pick up. The shuttles will drop passengers off at the Parks Management Center, a short walk to the festivities.

  • Public Life reporter for spring 2017, studying investigative/data journalism; reach me at

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