Visitors, local residents enjoy rare spectacle without incident

PENDLETON — The town of Pendleton didn’t have an official eclipse event on Monday, but the town did attract its share of sky-watchers from outside the area and state, to join in observing the phenomenon.
“It’s crazy busy,” said Lisa Holverson, co-owner of Mystic Waters Campground near I-69 and State Road 38, at midday on Monday. “It’s brought so much more business for the entire weekend.”
The campground planned an eclipse weekend that included live music and other activities on Sunday and Monday.
Kaylin Gunneson and Melinda Burke drove in from Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sunday night without plans on where to pitch their tent; they ended up at Mystic Waters.
“We had absolutely nothing booked,” Burke said.
They planned to drive home right after the eclipse.

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At the other end of the spectrum, Scott Buckman, his wife, and a couple of their neighbors from Knoxville, Tennessee, booked their cabin in July of last year, arriving on Friday at Mystic Waters with plans to leave Tuesday.
“It’s been fun being here,” Buckman said. “We’ve been having fun just … sightseeing.”
The world’s biggest ball of paint and giant pink elephant were among the sights they visited.
“We’ve been going on Google just seeing what’s nearby,” Buckman said.
The eclipse was the main draw, though. He had a camera, telescope, special filter and more, which he started setting up hours before the eclipse, to take photos.
Even so, he said, “I don’t want to get too carried away with too much photography stuff because then you kind of miss the joy of it.”
In Falls Park, there were a lot of vehicles with out-of-state plates, and it was hard to find any local residents, at least an hour before eclipse started.
Dave and Kathy Kooda from Minnesota stopped in Pendleton to see the eclipse on their drive home from Florida, where they had been visiting for a month.
“We noticed this park on the map,” Dave said.
“It seemed like a good place to stop,” Kathy added.
Dave said they were “not obsessed” with the eclipse, but with the timing and proximity along their greater travel route, they felt compelled to fit it in.
“It’s 20 years until the next one,” he said.
Brian and Maureen Rehmer from Fort Wayne were in town visiting daughter Elizabeth Rehmer, a speech pathologist at Maple Ridge Elementary School.
The three were set up at Barnhart Field to observe and record the eclipse.
Brian had constructed multiple viewing devices, including: binoculars with Mylar filter covers to look through; binoculars mounted on a stand that projected the sun onto a white screen below, used to track the eclipse’s progression without looking upward; and a camera setup for taking photographs.
Maureen said while she was looking forward to witnessing the event — “I probably won’t ever see it again” — her husband provided the most fun in the lead-up.
“I’ve had fun watching him get ready for it,” Maureen said.
Elizabeth said the same thing about her dad.
“It’s fun watching him get excited like a little kid.”
The excitement for the out-of-town Rehmers wasn’t going to stop with the eclipse. They had plans to get home to Fort Wayne on Monday for another event.
‘We are going to head back tonight,” Maureen said. “We wanted to watch the Purdue game.”
Public safety
According to Pendleton Police Chief Marc Farrer, the eclipse came and went without any public safety issues.
“I don’t think things were greatly exaggerated,” he said in response to a question about the talk of potential traffic issues and pre-event planning. “We just didn’t provide a draw for people that were passing through the area.
“That’s my take on it.
“The citizens of Pendleton did great. They had little yard events. But everybody was on their property. There weren’t any issues.
“Falls Park was occupied but not overflowing, and it seemed like everyone had fun.
The visitors from out of state seemed to be mostly from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, South Dakota and Georgia, Farrer said.
“Everybody was hospitable, happy and enjoying (the event).”
Local feedback
In Markleville, where there was an Eclipse Watch Party at Community Park, it was similar to Mystic Waters.
The event included live entertainment, activities, vendor booths and concessions.
“We had a great crowd!” organizer Dianna Smith said in a text. “People came from all over, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Ohio!”