August 17, 2017
Writer: Sydney Jensen
Jackie Rawlins has dreamed of starting an annual summer event in Rexburg, but what she didn't know is nature itself would give her the perfect opportunity to kick off the summer event of a lifetime.
"It's not the just eclipse, this is the first year we're doing [this event]," Jackie Rawlins, Cultural Arts Director, and Museum Curator told BYU-Idaho Radio. "We're really trying to come up with an event that I've wanted to do for a while for the city and I want this to be an annual thing that happens every summer."
Some of those festivities include a storytelling show, drawing nationally recognized storytellers to the parks and pavilions of Rexburg, Idaho.
"I'll tell you what it's not. It's not people standing up and telling a story," Rawlins said. "It really is about taking you on a journey, while you're there...they're usually 15-20 minutes long, sometimes it's 30 minutes. So, it's not this quick thing. It really is taking you on a journey and it's very entertaining."
The city is also welcoming artists both locally and from across the country to come set up shop in the Vendor Village during the weekend of the eclipse. Additionally, science groups and organizations coming to study the solar event will also engage with the public.
"The LA Astronomy will be coming in and doing a [star gazing] party there," Rawlins said. "We're pretty excited that they picked us. They could have picked anywhere in southeastern Idaho to do this at...and they picked Rexburg to do it at."
Most of the events offered by the city and BYU-Idaho will be free to the public, giving visitors unfettered access to education and experience during a once-in-a-life time celestial event, a tradition that Rawlins hopes continues onward in the years after the eclipse.
"We're lucky, we get to start off pretty big with this eclipse and our goal is that we can build upon that momentum," Rawlins said. "Next year we'll not have any many crowds, but we're hoping we can educate the community with this event this year and they get to get their hearts touched by it."