More Eclipse Fun - Events for 2017 Solar Eclipse in Upper Cumberland

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

We’ve got a special radio show this week! Join Ready To Learn project manager Cindy Putman and her special co-host Dr. Mary Kidd, Assistant Professor of Physics at Tennessee Tech University as they discuss the events leading up to a historical event 500 years in the making: the great Solar Eclipse of 2017.

Dr. Mary Kidd is a native of Kingsport, TN. She completed her undergraduate degree at TTU and received her PhD in experimental nuclear physics from Duke University in 2010. After a 2-year postdoctoral appointment at Los Alamos National Lab, she returned to TTU as an Assistant Professor of Physics in 2012. Mary enjoys horseback riding, racquetball, and running when she is not doing physics. She is also a certified miner!

Putman and Kidd encourage everyone who lives within driving distance of Cookeville to come and attend one or all of the great community events taking place in conjunction with this historical happening.

An eclipse happens about once every six months when the Earth crosses the shadow of the moon, but the one happening Aug. 21st is extra special in that the path of the moon's shadow will pass through the United States, making it an event, unlike most, that many across the country will have an opportunity to see for the first time, including those of us who reside in Putnam County.

The line of totality is about 80 miles wide and folks outside that viewing area will not see the magnitude of the eclipse like those in Putnam County will. Cookeville is in the path of totality for the Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017 and observers there will see approximately 2m 33s of totality!

Putman wants everyone to know about the great community events that are taking place for kids and families across the Upper Cumberland in the coming weeks and months.

The Putnam County Library will host an informational session with Dr. Mary Kidd and Dr. Steve Robinson the Saturday before the eclipse on Aug. 19, at 10:30 a.m. WCTE will also have a special PBS KIDS guest at the library, with Jet Propulsion from Ready Jet Go.

On August 19, from 6 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. families can meet WCTE’s PBS KIDS Jet Propulsion at Dogwood Park, directly behind the Cookeville History Museum. He will be there as part of the Solar Eclipse festivities being held in Dogwood Park.

Kidd stresses that all these events are free and open to the public.

On Aug. 21, special parties, campsites and events will take place across the path of the eclipse, including several in the Cookeville area.

Putman and Kidd will be among thousands to witness the phenomenon from TTU's Tucker Stadium, which holds about 16,000 people.

TTU will have special eclipse viewing glasses for the first 10,000 people who register online. As of Wednesday, only 2,000 were available.

TTU's Eclipse Festival will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, in the tailgate area outside the stadium with exhibits and food trucks. Viewers will move into the stadium at 10:30 a.m. to prepare for the three-hour eclipse event, while the eclipse itself will last for about two-and-a-half minutes close to 1:30 p.m.

Tennessee Tech Eclipse Fest will kick off with a celebration of science, with the STEM Mobile and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Traveling Science Fair!

Tennessee Tech’s Physics Department will feature demonstrations explaining the science behind a solar eclipse and will have telescopes for viewing on the track!

The Appalachian Center for Craft will offer a family friendly activity to create eclipse inspired prints. They will have a booth with wood blocks, screens, inks, and skilled artists to guide in the creation of small printed pieces to take home as a memento of the day.

Fans of PBS’s Ready, Jet, Go will have the opportunity to interact with Jet Propulsion! We will also have a Moonbounce, and the first 1500 attendees to the festival will get the perfect eclipse snack – Mini Moon Pies!

Tucker stadium will stay open until the end of the partial eclipse (2:56 pm local time).  

Please note that coolers and large bags are prohibited inside Tucker Stadium. Concessions and other dining options will be available. In the festival area, there will be food vendors such as the TTU Bird Feeder, hot dogs, sno-cones, Italian ice, and gelato. The concession stand on the lower west side of the stadium will be open. In the Roaden University Center, Starbucks will be open until 10:30 am, and Which Wich and Backyard Burger will be open until 1:30.

If you have any questions please email

2017 Solar Eclipse Events

Saturday, August 19, 2017 -

Putnam County Library | 10:30 A.M.

Eclipse Sessions for families with NASA certified experts + WCTE-PBS "Ready, Jet, Go" photos


Dogwood Park | 6 P.M.

Meet & Greet: WCTE-PBS "Ready, Jet, Go"


Dogwood Park | 7 P.M.

Storytelling - Tales & Folklore of past eclipses


Dogwood Park | 8 P.M.

Movie in the Park: Star Wars: Rogue One


Monday, August 21, 2017 -

TTU Campus around Tucker Stadium | 10 a.m.

TTU Eclipse Festival


TTU’s Tucker Stadium | 12:30pm-1:33pm

Eclipse Viewing Party


Click here for more detailed information about the TTU events.

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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

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