NEWBERRY — The Total Solar Eclipse (Aug. 21) is almost here, and if you’re wondering where to get glasses, wonder no more: Those needing glasses can get a free pair starting Aug. 18, the first day of Newberry’s EclipseFest.
Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events coordinator at City Of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, said they ordered 25,000 pairs for EclipseFest, all of which were paid for by local sponsors. Additional glasses were ordered to be given out to the children of the school district.
“The new big boost of glasses is because we have become an official NASA designated viewing site, which is a very big deal,” said Kopp. “We are super lucky that we got in right at the cut off. This is something Molly Fortune and The Opera House staff have been working on for months, since the inception of the EclipseFest events, and it has taken that long because we had to go through a pretty arduous process of showing our safety plans, letting them know what our events are going to look like, to show there is an educational aspect.”
As one of these viewing sites, Newberry receives a few perks, one of which is additional NASA Solar Eclipse glasses.
“For the most part the NASA Eclipse Glasses are blank, that is to encourage children to draw on them,” Kopp said.
The Eclipse glasses are on their way to Newberry, but will not be made available until Aug. 18. Kopp said they want to make sure those who do not already have a pair can get a pair. They have expanded the locations spectators can pick them up.
“We have been told that these special solar glasses, if they get scratched they are rendered useless. You could damage your eye if you watch the Eclipse with scratched glasses,” she said.
The locations to pick up the glasses are EclipseFest Information Shop, 1208 Main St.; The Newberry Opera House; Ritz Theater; Art Center; Carnegie Library and various downtown shops. The limit will be six pairs per family. The glasses will be free.
The Parks, Recreation and Tourism office across from City Hall will have glasses to give out starting at 8 a.m. Once the work day is completed, they will be distributed to other locations.
“We are using the honor system. What we are saying limit six glasses per household. Our hope and wish is that people will be honest,” Kopp said.
Kopp said they want everyone living here to have the opportunity to watch the Eclipse safely.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.