Galesburg plans to see the light with “Eclipse Express”

GALESBURG, Illinois -

Galesburg isn't about to be left in the dark during the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, August 21.

Around here, just about everybody is getting into the act to make this once-in-a-lifetime event a tourism success.

"It's really cool," said Amtrak passenger Shawn Walden.

Amtrak passengers will climb aboard an "Eclipse Express" to Galesburg on Monday.

"There's special prices for people to step on the train in Chicago," said Denise Bradburn, who is helping to organize the event.

Amtrak is offering same day, round trip service for the big event.  The train is expected to arrive in Galesburg at 10:18 a.m., on Monday.

"It's neat for a little town to get so much publicity," said Walden.  "Go on to bigger and better things."

Preparations continued on Friday, August 18, inside the Welcome Center.  That's where a stash of 100 solar eclipse glasses sold out in about an hour.

"I was thrilled," said Jean Carothers, who scored a few pairs of the $5 cardboard glasses.  "I know my grandkids can be safe."

Galesburg is planning a full day for eclipse visitors, whether they arrive by train or car.

"I've had a lot of phone calls this week," said Mary Plue, in between selling glasses.  "I'd say about double for a normal week."

Many activities will center near the Amtrak station and Discovery Depot.  Families will participate in a variety of activities that include yoga and live entertainment from 12-3 on Monday.

You'll find Discovery Depot at  128 S. Chambers Street in Galesburg.

"There will be some fun learning about the eclipse," Bradburn continued.  "They'll be able to watch the eclipse live here in a safe environment."

Nearby businesses on Seminary Street and across the city will join in.  They'll be offering deals for shopping, dining and overnight stays.

"As they have the entire day here before they catch the train back, just before 7,  they can actually experience the whole town," Bradburn concluded.

Visitors from near and far will be ready to enjoy their moment in the near darkness.