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Visitor’s guide to Eclipse West Plains Party on the Path activities


Hello, visitors, and welcome to West Plains!

Whether you’ve been to the area before or you’re taking it all in for the first time, one thing is clear: This isn’t the usual family vacation or weekend getaway: West Plains is in the path of totality for a solar eclipse happening on Monday and will experience darkness for just over three minutes.

Because of this, the City of West Plains Tourism Department and a host of local businesses, organizations and people acting on their own have teamed up to make sure there is something for everyone to enjoy in days leading up to the big celestial event.

The Party on the Path total solar eclipse celebration got itself warmed up Thursday and kicked into high gear Friday, but from today through Monday, the schedule is jam-packed full of activities all across West Plain — and in our surrounding communities. For simplicity’s sake, the body of this article will focus just on West Plains, but flip through the pages of this Eclipse Visitor’s Guide to learn more about what is happening nearby.

Once again, welcome, and we are so glad to have you. We know you will love our beautiful scenery and close-knit community and we’re grateful you chose us to be your hosts.

Arts & Entertainment

Displays & Exhibits

A Sky High — Eclipse and More art exhibition hosted by the West Plains Council on the Arts is on display in the gallery on the mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St. Nineteen different artists in a variety of media have works displayed in this eclipse- and celestial-themed show. The showing is free and can be seen by the public any time the civic center is open.

Through Monday, Ozarks Artery’s “Total Eclipse and the Art” exhibit is on display at the Yellow House Community Arts Center, 209 W. Trish Knight St., during the arts center’s Black Sky + Yellow House events.

The West Plains Model Railroad Club will have a display in the West Plains Civic Center Redbud Room from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Live Music

The Yellow House will host a music and art event from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, featuring a reading by local author Marsha Thauwald, live painting, and musical performances by John Depew and The Kursk.

Justyn Moreland will perform live acoustic originals and covers at 7 p.m. at Wages Brewing Company, 1382 Bill Virdon Blvd. No cover charge.

At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, three events will take place on Washington Avenue: KC’s Sports Bistro, 409 Washington Ave., will host its first-ever Nashville Showcase Writers Round. Musicians Jacob Hackworth, Jaxson Free, Luke Parrish and Adam Pope will play the chart-hitting songs they have written for acclaimed Nashville artists, as well as country and rock covers. West Plains Underground will host Path of the Moon Shadow live music show at West Plains Below Grade, 351 Washington Ave. (West Plains Bike Shop rear entrance), featuring Ghost Hollow from Fayetteville, Ark., Sacrifice the Truth, Mtn. View, and Broken Knuckle, West Plains. Admission is $10. Lastly, The Avenue Theatre, 307 Washington Ave., will host The Rising Star Revue, a talent show with cash prizes. Admission is $5.

A balloon glow and fireworks show benefiting the Child Advocacy Center-South Central will be held Sunday at the Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds on North U.S. 63. The balloon glow will start at dusk followed by fireworks. Gates open and food trucks will be available starting at 4 p.m., as will kids’ activities and family fun. Live music begins at 5:30 with local classic rock cover band Fender Bender opening for headliner Ha Ha Tonka, which will take the stage at 7 p.m. Rooted in West Plains, Ha Ha Tonka is known for its powerful blend of roots rock, alternative country, and Americana, with energetic live shows and a touch of wry humor in their lyrics. Admission is $15 per adult and $10 each for ages 18 and younger. Buy tickets and get more information at give.childadvocacycenter.org/event/balloon-glow-2024/e556568.

From 6 to 8 p.m. that evening the Yellow House will host “A Meal With Molly” featuring live music from Molly Healey, known for her work with the Ozarks Mountain Daredevils as well as a vibrant solo career, and a catered meal by Chef Aym Fischer. The menu includes appetizer, dinner and dessert with an Italian theme. Tickets to the limited-seating event are $30 may be purchased by going to @TheYellowHouseWP on Facebook or emailing yellowhousearts@gmail.com.

On Monday, prior to totality, Dawson Hollow, a multi-award-winning indie-folk-rock band that hails from the Ozarks, will perform live in concert at noon at the civic center.

Fun for the Whole Family

A Cosmic Carnival for Kids will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the south parking lot of the West Plains Public Library, 750 W. Broadway. Activities and games are free, and cotton candy will be available for purchase. Carnival-style games with prizes, a magician, bounce houses, balloon animals, a space-themed cake walk, face pointing, mountain bike demonstration and petting zoo are all planned, as well as an interactive mural-painting event and S.T.E.M. activity.

Following, at 2:30 p.m., kids and their parents can head west a few blocks on Broadway to People’s Park for a rubber duck race held by the West Plains Optimist Club.

Also Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Sunshine Festival at the civic center will offer vendor booths, live music, a beer garden and food trucks. Musicians performing include Robin and Tony Logue, Tara Nickole and Blayd Law, Chasing the Apocalypse, and Native Souls. The Journey Stagecoach will be on display on the west side of the center.

The West Plains Second Saturday Art Stroll will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m and feature vendors offering arts and crafts for sale, as well as art on display at local businesses around Court Square and in the downtown West Plains area.

Traditional Ozarks storyteller Danette House will present “West Plains: In the Beginning” at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Avenue Theatre.

Starting at 2 p.m., the 37th Judicial CASA will host a dodgeball tournament at Genesis Church, 4945 W. U.S. 160. Registration is $60 per team at the door. Admission for spectators is $2 for adults and $1 for kids; hot dogs and chips will be available.

The Neon Parade featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales and Grand Marshal Brandon Beck, KY3 meteorologist, begins at 7:30 p.m. and will traverse downtown West Plains. The parade will begin at Kellett Hall, at the intersection of North Minnesota Avenue and West Main Street, then travel along Main Street, around the square, to the civic center at St. Louis Street, where it will disperse.

From 7 to 11 p.m. today and Sunday, Legit Speedway Park, 10603 S. U.S. 63, will host the Legit Eclipse Experience, offering family entertainment for all ages. Admission is $10 each night and includes a shuttle ride from the hotel. Games and activities include laser tag, shoot the moon, Saturn ring toss, space ball, shuttle flight challenge and flying saucer.

Get Moving

A 5K run will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday at Galloway Park just north of West Plains on County Road 1770. The run will benefit the West Plains High School Zizzer Cross Country and Track. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. The $35 cost includes a T-shirt (sizes not guaranteed), water bottle, cooling towel, custom medal and bid. Sign up online at actnowracing.com/events/922/5k-at-galloway.

From 1 to 4 p.m., an Eclipse Jeep Show will be held in the West Plains Walmart parking lot on Preacher Roe Boulevard, near the online pickup stalls. Registration is $20 and starts at noon, with proceeds going to Children’s Miracle Network. Three trophies will be awarded: Best Theme Jeep (‘80s, neon or sci-fi), Most Off-Road Ready and Best Original Jeep. A plush “rubber duck” will be awarded to the crowd favorite. Text 417-247-0736 for more information.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Sunday in the civic center's east parking lot for Dice Run to the Mills, open to passenger vehicles and motorcycles. Stops include Twin Bridges, Rockbridge, Hodgson Mill and Dawt Mill. Prizes will be given. Cost is $15/vehicle, which includes two scorecards. Additional cards are available for $5 each.

Other Activities

From 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday The Kiwanis Club will host a pancake breakfast served at the civic center. To purchase tickets at $10 each, contact a Kiwanis member, send a Facebook message to “Kiwanis Club of West Plains” or email kiwanisclubofwestplains@gmail.com.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, an Eclipse Jeep Show will be held in the West Plains Walmart parking lot on Preacher Roe Boulevard, near the online pickup stalls. Registration is $20 and starts at noon, with proceeds going to Children’s Miracle Network. Three trophies will be awarded: Best Theme Jeep (‘80s, neon or sci-fi), Most Off-Road Ready and Best Original Jeep. A plush “rubber duck” will be awarded to the crowd favorite. Text 417-247-0736 for more information.

Total Eclipse of the Heart weddings will be performed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the civic center’s east lawn.

The MSU-Springfield Astronomy Department will give an hourlong presentation at 10 a.m. in the civic center theater.

The Big Event

The total solar eclipse will last for 3 minutes and 4 seconds in West Plains and totality will start at 1:54 p.m.. A partial eclipse will last about 1.5 hours before and after totality. Official viewing sites in West Plains are at the civic center and the Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds, in addition to 19 city parks that will offer viewing spaces and several area businesses.

To get the most out of the experience, Party in the Path organizers recommend arriving at your chosen destination at least two hours before totality.
Remember, eclipse viewing glasses are necessary if watching the eclipse before and after totality, or else permanent eye damage can occur. Several West Plains businesses and organizations offer glasses for safe viewing, including the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, 2999 Porter Wagoner Blvd. in north West Plains, and some vendor booths at the Sunshine Festival on Saturday at the civic center.

Glasses are also available while supplies last at the West Plains Music Store downtown on Court Square; Ozarks Small Business Incubator; The Yellow House Community Arts Center; Wages Brewing Company; D & D Produce, 935 N. Utah St.; and Conjure House Coffee in The Heights, 2105 Hubert Redburn Drive. Other businesses may have glasses, so be sure to ask when you patronize them.

For the most updated information, download the “Party in the Path” mobile app.

Visit explorewestplains.com/tse or follow @eclipsewestplains on Facebook for independent event details. For more information about parks and things to do in West Plains, check out explorewestplains.com/local-attractions-parks or stop by the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center and pick up a copy of this year’s West Plains Guidebook.