BRIAN QUINN/DAILY NEWS Holland Land Office Museum Executive Director Ryan Duffy displays says the display of clothing from the 1920s, the last time this area saw a total solar eclipse, includes, from left, a silk, evening dress with a fox fur-lined overcoat, a black, velvet and purple, satin dress, and a black, sequined dress with fur-lined cape.

BATAVIA — Three local businesses or organizations have started working on the activities they want to offer people when the total solar eclipse arrives is visible in the area on the afternoon of April 8, 2024.

Leaders of the three: the Holland Land Office Museum, Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, and Genesee County Park & Forest spoke about some of their plans in a video conference this week hosted by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Batavia and Genesee County sit directly in the path of totality, and viewers will experience 3 minutes and 42 seconds of totality beginning at 3:19 p.m. and a partial eclipse for nearly two and a half hours, the Chamber says. A total solar eclipse causes the sky to become as dark as deep twilight, bright stars and planets to appear, and the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, to shine around the black disk of the moon’s silhouette. Changes in temperature, winds and animal behavior occur during the time around totality.

Ryan Duffy, executive director of the Holland Land Office Museum, said the museum is planning an exhibit showcasing January 1925 — the last time this area had a complete solar eclipse.

“What we are looking at is to look back through the archives of The Daily News and other local newspapers of the day to get the local reaction to when this happened before and then to also incorporate artifacts from the time here that would be applicable to Genesee County that were experiencing it back in 1925,” he said. “I’m really trying to focus on artifacts that people would have on that day or would be a part of their daily lives.” Duffy said he’s thinking, in particular, about clothing from 1925.

“We do have a large collection of 1920s clothing, and some winter clothing at that people would have been wearing if they went out to check out the complete solar eclipse in January (1925),” he said.

Duffy said the museum is preparing a small portion of that exhibit for the fall.

“It will be a teaser — then, by about November, to have this larger exhibit come to being in one of our rooms at the museum and then to have that up through the event (the April 8 eclipse),” he said. “By having it up that long, we could also tweak things in between and change out some things or shake some things up based on different things as we see fit.”

The museum is trying to bring what it was like for people almost 100 years ago during the 1925 total eclipse to today’s audience, Duffy said.

Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing at Batavia Downs, said Batavia Downs is planning a big party.

“Plans are right now, we’re going to be doing a hotel package that will encompass Sunday and Monday nights. In talking with our hotel partner, Hart Hotels, which helps us run the hotel here at Batavia Downs, they’re already selling packages at their Watkins Glen location and getting quite a fair amount of money for it. I think that’s something all the hotels locally, including us, could look forward to.” Batavia Downs plans to do some things the weekend right before the eclipse — such as some themed cash drawings and free play drawings.

“I believe one of the weekends that our psychic fair would normally come to town, I think she picked that week, because an eclipse is very psychic ...” he said. “If we have a psychic fair that weekend that runs Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, I think that will be very exciting for people who are in the area to come out and check that out.”

People would be able to get their palms read. They could do all the things they normally do during the psychic fair. The party be during the afternoon on Monday, April 8. It would have live music from a Buffalo party band, Hasenauer said.

“I’ve got one in mind. I’ve got to get them to commit, but I think it’s going to happen,” he said. “Basically, it’s just going to be a great place where people can just gather together.”

Batavia Downs would want to get some of the Chamber of Commerce’s eclipse-themed protective glasses for people to wear, Hasenauer said.

“Even if we could purchase these things and not get them donated, we’re going to do things like give out SunChips and Moon Pies and Milky Ways and half-moon cookies” he said. “We’ll have sampling from Sunkist and Blue Moon and Sol Cerveza — anything that’s got to do with the moon or the sun, I want that to be one of the food and beverage things that you’ll get at our party.”

Depending on the weather, the party might be outside with live music, Hasenauer said. When the total eclipse happens in this area at 3:19 p.m. on April 8 and even before that, people will be allowed to go on the track apron or on the middle of the racetrack and look up at the eclipse with their safety glasses on. After the total and partial eclipses are over, Batavia Downs will still have some music.”

Genesee County Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry Conservative Education Program Coordinator Shannon Lyaski said the park will plan a viewing event. People will be able to come to the park that day anyway, but on April 8, the park will have self-guided activities.

“We will have a telescope and we will have some other self-guided activities, probably an educational video about the eclipse and what it’s all about some crafts that kids can do and take home with them ...” she said. The park will make sure there are Porta Potties and that people are there to direct traffic in the parking lot, especially because it’s likely to be muddy in April.

“Really, the show is happening in the sky. We’re planning to have some white canvasses, either on the outside of the building or on the ground,” she said. “One of the phenomena that happens during a total eclipse is shadow bands. You get these really weird shadows happening because of the way the light is bending around the moon and the corona is visible, which is also really cool.” The Park & Forest will share educational information. The Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) has an Eclipse Ambassador program and chose 50 organizations to whom to give a grant.

“We became recipients of that. The purpose of that is to provide support for education around the STEM experience and really get that out into the community, get people excited about the eclipse and do a lot of education around that.”

Lyaski said each grantee gets $1,000 stipend to help with expenses to support programming around the eclipse.

“Also, a telescope is included, which is very beneficial to the park, because this is something we can use toward future events as well,” she said. “The telescope comes with a solar filter. It’s got a special filter on it so you can see ... We’re trying to get a big screen so everyone can see what’s happening through the telescope. We’re working on setting up a structure in the park where viewing through the telescope will be accessible to everyone.”

With that comes other educational materials and training around using these materials, Lyaski said. The park will have the eclipse glasses as well ad will be partnering with the Chamber of Commerce on some of the branding materials as well.

“As far as the usage of the park, it’s going to be the same as it always is. We won’t have camping in the park. We won’t have horses on that day,” she said. “Normally, you can ride your horse in the park, but not on that day.” For April 8, the park will also promote “leave no trace,” so that people come to the park, but it doesn’t look like a disaster after the eclipse.

“When I’ve talked to other parks about this event, they said that people from the local area also came to the local park to view it, because there is a darker sky there, to get the full effect,” Lyaski said.

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