SUBLETTE COUNTY – For those wondering about eclipse events around the county, there are special celebrations for locals and visitors alike.
With a rare total eclipse coming to Sublette County on the morning of Monday, Aug. 21, communities throughout the county have a wealth of family-friendly activities and events planned to make the special occasion a memorable one for both local residents and the expected large influx of visitors to arrive days prior to the spectacle in the sky.
In Pinedale, events kick off for the Pinedale Eclipse Festival this afternoon with presentations from Kevin Schindler of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., who will speak at the Museum of the Mountain Man for 45 minutes beginning at 1 p.m. Immediately following, there will be telescope viewing of the sun. Schindler will give another presentation from 3 to 3:45 p.m., with telescope viewing of the sun to take place a second time between 4 and 4:45 p.m.
On Saturday, American Legion Park will feature a wide variety of events throughout the day, beginning with solar science stations and an inflatable star lab from Sublette BOCES from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Between noon and 2 p.m., a solar oven cook-off will be held to see who has the best solar cooking skills.
That evening, the Summer Music Series brings live music – featuring The Deer with Lonesome Heroes and Whipporwill – to the park, which will run from 4 to 9 p.m. at the pavilion. To cap off the evening, a Soundcheck After-Party will be held at the Wind River Brewing Co. from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., featuring Lonesome Heroes.
On Sunday, Sublette BOCES and the Great Outdoor Shop will host a movie night from 8 to 11 p.m. at the American Legion Park, with “Guardians of the Galaxy” being the feature film of the night.
Up at White Pine Resort, the resort is offering Great Spirit Chair Lift rides to the top of Fortification Mountain for a view of the eclipse. Rides up the lift will be $30 per adult and $15 for youngsters 5 to 15 years old.
Marbleton and Big Piney residents, groups and businesses are planning a great community get-together – Roping the Moon Eclipse & Rock Fest – from Friday through Sunday, taking Monday off so eclipse watchers can move to their destinations farther away from civilization.
This includes the county’s very first Sublette Rock Hounds Gem & Mineral Show, slated to open Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Sublette County Fairgrounds with vendors and artists sharing results of their obsession to overturn every stone. Admission will be $3 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors and free for those under 12.
Saturday brings on more vendors, food and a cornhole tournament at 1 p.m. as well as the kids’ play zone with inflatables, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday’s additional highlight is live music with Skippy and the T-Bones starting at 3:30 p.m.
The Bench Grill from Marbleton will offer food at the event with a special pancake breakfast sendoff Monday morning, 7 to 11 a.m.
Also well worth checking out at the fairgrounds is the Montana Cutting Horse Association’s talented-horse special event through Saturday.
Farther south, the town of LaBarge holds its annual community picnic on Saturday at the town park. Festivities start at 11 a.m. with burgers, hotdogs, chips and drinks provided. Bring your own potluck salad or dessert as well as your lawn chairs with a full schedule of 3-man basketball, 4-man volleyball, cornhole, a waterslide and a kids’ obstacle course.
In Bondurant – where totality will be almost flawless – the community is focusing on Monday’s When Night Falls at Noon celebration.
The Bondurant Post Office will be offering commemorative sheets of unique eclipse stamps and a special Bondurant postmark that marks it as one of the “eclipse stations.” Stop in anytime during business hours and request the cancellation on your mail.
Friends of the Bondurant Library are selling one-of-a-kind T-shirts marking the once-in-a-lifetime occasion. The Branding Iron Café opens for breakfast Monday at 8 a.m. and hosts the viewing party beginning at 11:30 a.m. with kids’ games and educational activities. The café will be selling the eclipse party T-shirts and the necessary souvenir safety viewing glasses.
Remember when you are traveling around the county’s back roads and small towns to respect private property as well as public lands; be careful of where you park and clean up as you go. Other caveats for our wide-open Sublette County solitude – cattle do have the right of way on open range, don’t expect cell or Internet service, don’t run out of gas, food or warm clothing and make sure you remember your eclipse-viewing glasses.
And make the most of this special day – take time to enjoy making the memories of a lifetime!