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Thank the cosmos for ES middle school’s new art kiln

The SolarFest committee co-chairs Courtney Cole, Sharon Powell and Sonya Morgan. (Submitted photo)

September 8, 2017 — Students at the Excelsior Springs Middle School can thank the cosmos — and the Excelsior Springs SolarFest committee — for their new art kiln.

SolarFest co-chairs Sonya Morgan, Sharon Powell and Courtney Cole met recently to wrap up loose ends associated with the festival connected to the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. Through sales of eclipse glasses and eclipse T-shirts, the committee collected over $4,000 in profit. The ladies voted to give these proceeds to the middle school for the purchase of a new art kiln.

“This was such an amazing thing that happened in Excelsior Springs,” Cole said. “I had the pleasure of working with both of these Excelsior Springs city councilwomen, Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Powell and Sonya Morgan, to coordinate this festival. We had thousands of people from all over the world join us to celebrate, as we were blessed enough to be in the path of complete totality. Our community profited greatly from the tourism efforts. Shopkeepers boasted about how packed their shops were and how good it was for their registers.”

Visitors from Germany, France, Switzerland, Australia and China lined the streets of Excelsior Springs on Monday, Aug. 21, looking up toward the sky and celebrating with those lucky enough to be in the path of totality.

The SolarFest, which ran from Sunday into Monday, included a live band, dozens of food and craft vendors, historic trolley tours, a special museum display and an art show in the Hall of Waters.

The post office offered a special cancellation stamp on assorted post cards and mailings to be saved as keepsakes. The stamp was designed by local artist Jason Cole. The same design was used on commemorative T-shirts and over 850 shirts were sold.

Eclipse glasses were available for $1 each and quickly sold out. It was the proceeds from the glasses and T-shirts that helped the committee raise their fund.

The success of the festival would not have been possible with the financial support and contributions of local sponsors, the largest of which was the BBQ and Fly-In on the River committee.

The BBQ committee just wrapped up its annual BBQ Festival the day before and extended the use of their tent, stage, bathrooms, beer trailer and other equipment free of charge to the SolarFest committee.

“It was an awesome experience that we could not have accomplished without the help of our city government, our sponsors, our downtown merchants, The Standard newspaper and Brian Rice, and last but certainly not least Jim and Cheri McCullough and the BBQ committee,” said Powell. “Thank you to the countless volunteers and to the community, for making this once in a lifetime event so memorable.”

By Brian Rice •

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