Was it worth the hype? Was it worth precautions? Was it worth the celebration? You bet! It was the biggest solar event in northern Ohio since 1806. For four magical minutes, the entire region turned to night. Our rotating earth and revolving moon danced together to block the sun, creating a slice of night in the afternoon sky. The April 8th eclipse was a great reason for a party, and North Royalton City and School District had a grand one. The doors opened at the Serpentini Stadium at noon. By 1:30 p.m. hundreds of people brought their lawn chairs, beach blankets, coolers, footballs, and most of all, they brought smiles and anticipation. Dr. Jennifer Mentessi of Distinctive Eyewear provided solar worthy ISO approved glasses right at the gate. Audrey Rybicki and Kyle Jernejcic passed out Center of Science and Industry (COSI) lunchbox science kits that included information, and another pair of glasses. DJ Putrino Productions played the background music. Food trucks from Crave, Butch’s Saloon, the Lemon Shack, and Kona Ice were also on site for food delights.
The Athletic Boosters staffed the concession stand with Augie’s Pizza, hotdogs, and stadium fair. Malley’s Chocolates sold special eclipse cookies for dessert. Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz said, “There is never a bad day in North Royalton.” Mayor Larry has a special connection with the weather makers so every city event is under fair skies. “I really called in all the favors I had coming for this event, and you couldn’t ask for a prettier day.” Council members Linda Barath, Joann Kreji, and John Nickell stood with Mayor Larry to witness this phenomenon of nature.
Not too far from the mayor was the Miller family. Steve, Amy, Ivy, and Isla, along with Auntie Sarah Doty, who is a NR second grade teacher, looked for a nice spot on the football field to put down their gear. The Tropiano family from Pittsburgh came to be with the Oblack family and enjoy the celestial celebration. Who knows how many people came from afar to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime eclipse with a family member or two. Footballs flew across the field; people wove in and out of the flight paths to avoid messing up a nice throw. There were sunbathers and folks who just enjoy watching people. Council President Paul Marnecheck was seen learning to use the cereal box pin hole method. He said, “The box is not quite the best, but I’ll try to use it.” Paul continued, “This turnout is great. I can’t think of any place to live other than North Royalton.” No one constantly watched the sun. They slipped the glasses on, to check out the darkness of the sun. Patrick Ramic, a first grader, used the big box viewer along with the eclipse mylar ISO glasses and said, “I can see it, it’s like a bite out of a cookie.” When the sun was about 60% covered the temperature became cooler. The sun bathers put on their shirts and sweatshirts. The day just wasn’t as bright, the colors looked different, the purple at the edge of the track looked deeper; the edge of the horizon began to darken.
Someone on the PA announced that totality was about to begin. The sky continued to darken. Venus appeared to the sun’s lower right side. All eyes with glasses were looking at the sky. Only a sliver of the sun remained; for a split second the viewers gasped, the entire sun was covered! Night had taken over the day. The split second of silence gave way to shouts of joy – awesome, wow, terrific – as the corona appeared, and glasses now were not necessary. Some people were able to see tiny red solar flares. Time wavered just a bit. Then the diamond of the sun appeared and another gasp from the crowd as the sun’s bright light once again pierced through the moon’s shadow. Glasses were back on as the moon began to move from the face of the sun. The total eclipse of the sun was totally worth the wait.
The Eclipse Party was possible through the efforts of Mayor Antoskiewicz and Council, the NR Board of Education, the Athletic Boosters and volunteers, the Police and Fire Departments, North Royalton CERT, and many others who donated time, talent, and goods and services.
The next total solar eclipse visible in our area will be September 14, 2099. If you have decided to become a full time eclipse chaser, the next full solar eclipse will be in 2026, but it will be in Greenland, Iceland, and Spain.

Contributing Writer