Watch parties across area enjoy glimpse of eclipse

Cloud cover in South Georgia, North Florida doesn't dampen phenomenon

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor , Jonathan Stacey - Meteorologist , Francesca Amiker - Reporter , Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter

From St. Marys, Georgia, to St. Johns County, the eclipse drew curious eyes from all walks of life outside Monday afternoon.

At Lemon Bar in Neptune Beach, hundreds lined up before the party started about 12:30 p.m. and enjoyed one of the better experiences in the Jacksonville area for the celestial phenomenon.

"It was quite an experience. It was just unbelievable," April Fivasha said.

Others said it was worth the wait to get into the bar to enjoy the experience with others as the cloudy sky cleared shortly before the eclipse began.

St. Augustine viewers were be able to see about 90 percent of the sun being covered by the moon’s shadow.

Rangers and volunteers at Fort Matanzas National Monument had several activities planned to commemorate the exciting astronomical event.

“I was a former teacher. I think it's wonderful that they do this for the kids especially,” James Morris said. “I think it's important. Our grandson, Kellan, he was very excited about seeing it, and he's only 3½ years old. It's good to get involved in science at an early age.”

Many showed up to the park but then left after getting their glasses to find a place on the beach for the best view of the solar eclipse.

The weather wasn't great in St. Marys but many people were prepared rain or shine with hats, jackets, umbrellas and the most valued item: eclipse viewing glasses.

The first 150 people to show up in front of the riverbank were given solar viewing glasses.

Maximum totality in Saint Marys was at 2:45 p.m.

At one I-95 rest stop, several people who stopped enjoyed an impromptu watch party and even shared the few solar glasses they had with each other.

“It was kind of an adventure because we were chasing it back and forth,” 11-year-old Orange Park resident Hannah Clark said. 

People at the rest stop had traveled from as far as New York and Fort Myers hoping for a view of the total eclipse, but they stopped at the rest stop and settled for a look at the partial eclipse.

Some visitors from Delaware were able to share glasses from other travelers.

"We were not expecting to see it, so this is a nice opportunity," Rufino Balderas said.

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