Attracted by the rare spectacle of the moon blotting out the sun, the Wake County Board of Commissioners has canceled its Aug. 21 meeting to open up a chance to see the solar eclipse.
At least some members will be chasing the zone of totality, where the darkness will be complete. In North Carolina, only portions of the Great Smoky Mountains will witness that phenomenon, the first to sweep the United States from coast to coast in 99 years. There’s great excitement nationally and internationally, with some hotel rooms in places such as Bryson City having been booked more than a year in advance.
For board chair Sig Hutchinson and commissioner John Burns, seeing the eclipse means going to South Carolina, where a swath of more than 250 miles of the state will experience complete darkness longer than two minutes.
“Yeah, man, I’ll be there,” Hutchinson said Tuesday. “Hopefully the weather will cooperate.”
Burns calls the occasion a “once in a lifetime chance,” but notes that he did not ask for the cancellation.
“But I am a dad with kids interested in astronomy,” he texted. “Hard to beat getting to see this. Already bought the glasses.”
Accounts of the profound effect a total eclipse can have on viewers convinced Hutchinson to cancel the 2 p.m. meeting, he says. It had originally been set for a half hour or so before the total blackout in parts of South Carolina.
Commissioner Jessica Holmes says she might travel to see the eclipse, but did not request the cancellation.
Traveling or not, commissioners will have plenty on their plates when they meet for an Aug. 28 work session, including the Register of Deeds scandal and repeated Board of Education requests for more funding.
UPDATE: A Wake County spokeswoman said Wednesday that an Aug. 14 work session for the commissioners will be devoted to a proposed county park in Fuquay-Varina and that the Aug. 28 session will concentrate on behavioral-health care in Wake County.