Carhenge Readies Itself for the Eclipse and a Flood of Tourists
August 21st marks the date for a total solar eclipse. Although this spectacular event occurs about every 18 months, astronomists like Jean Meeus of Belgium have estimated that a total solar eclipse is only visible from the earth approximately once every 375 years.
Considering how rare this event is, you might want to plan out your viewing spot ahead of time, like Governor Pete Rickett from Nebraska, who plans on staking out at the Carhenge landmark near Alliance, in the northwestern area of the state. Spectators here should witness an estimated 2 minutes and 28 seconds of total eclipse splendor, since Carhenge lies right in the center of the eclipse’s path.
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Although the original Stonehenge in England was built to commemorate the solstice and other celestial occurrences, Carhenge had a different origin story. Jim Reinders and his relatives created it in 1987, both as a tribute to his time working in England where he witnessed Stonehenge, as well as a way to honor his dad’s passing.
It is a common spot for tourists and photographers alike. Some people enjoy analyzing what car models make up the monument. Others gravitate toward the light and shadow effects to capture it on film. Then there are those who come to Carhenge seeking a supernatural encounter. As Jim Reinders articulates, “Some people actually come to Carhenge expecting a mystical magical experience. [But] Carhenge is whatever you want it to be to you.”
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Carhenge is set for a surge of spectators on August 21st. Tourists can plan on a wide variety of activities around the eclipse event itself—concerts, church-supplied food, a softball tournament, and an authentic Native American powwow. Whether you are more thrilled about the total eclipse or the auto-themed construction, Carhenge is a fascinating site to experience the total eclipse phenomenon.
Whitney Burch is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming on Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her fiance and their 1-year-old Labrador, motorcycling, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world (most likely in yellow), researching random things, scribbling on her blog, and escaping into a great movie, poem, or short story. See more articles by Whitney.