‘Eclipse or no eclipse, it was a good day’: Crowds make the best of a cloudy eclipse day

Even though persistent cloud cover meant viewers could only catch a few brief glimpses of the solar eclipse in Fort Erie, visitors to Crystal Beach took in the celestial event with wonder and amazement on Monday.

“Eclipse or no eclipse, it was a good day,” said Margarita Foox-Rapoport, who came down to Crystal Beach from Waterloo with her family, including daughters Sophie, 9, and Emily, 6.

Margarita Foox-Rapaport came down from Waterloo to view the eclipse at Crystal Beach with her family, including daughters Sophie, 9, and Emily, 6. Credit: Luke Edwards | Fort Erie Radio

There was a healthy crowd at Crystal Beach Waterfront Park, though perhaps not the throngs of people some expected. Visitors came from all over, including the Foox-Rapoport family from Waterloo, and others from Toronto or Richmond Hill.

Oswaldo Guzman and Veronica Sipos take advantage of a brief clearing to watch the eclipse. Dog Maya was apparently less interested. Credit: Luke Edwards | Fort Erie Radio

Arthur Macapagal, however, flew in all the way from Vancouver to see the eclipse. He was in Oregon for his 30th birthday in 2017, experiencing the glory of a total eclipse for the first time then.

“It’s just so beautiful, so naturally beautiful,” he said.

It helped that the community and residents were so friendly, he was quick to add. Locals gave him tips on places to check out or where to eat. He even found a specially crafted shirt commemorating the eclipse at a local store.

“The town and people have been so warm and open and friendly,” he said.

Arthur Macapagal flew in from Vancouver to take in both the eclipse and the Crystal Beach hospitality. Credit: Luke Edwards | Fort Erie Radio

In a strange twist Oswaldo Guzman and Veronica Sipos first developed their plans to come to Niagara for the eclipse last year during a trip to Chicago, of all places. Visiting the city’s planetarium, Guzman learned about the upcoming eclipse. And being interested in space and celestial events, he and Sipos made a plan to come down. They ended up making a day of it, with a picnic and other fun in the hours leading up to the eclipse.

Before totality, there were a few periods where the sun partially came out from the clouds for a few seconds, with cheers and excitement following. Michael and his daughter Vivianne Sykora were holding out hope for a last minute clearing, but regardless, enjoyed the day together.

“It’s just a rare thing,” Michael said. “We’re trying to get a memory that we can put on the wall.”

Michael and Vivianne Sykora take a look at the sky during the April 8th eclipse. Credit: Luke Edwards | Fort Erie Radio

Viewers at Crystal Beach could only tell totality was arriving by the clocks on their phones and the creeping darkness. Though clouds were in the way, when totality arrived the park took on a strange atmosphere.

“In a way, it made the darkness more intense,” said Ernesto Wulff, down from Richmond Hill with his son Sebastian.

“It felt like it was midnight at one point.”

A band of clear sky off in the distance offered some of the only light at Crystal Beach during totality. Credit: Luke Edwards | Fort Erie Radio

Fireworks went off in the distance as totality plunged the region into darkness. The only reminder that it was, in fact, the middle of the day was a patch of clear sky off in the distance that gave a reddish glow.

And then almost like turning on a light, brightness returned. As if Mother Nature was playing a bit of a cruel joke, the clouds proceeded to roll out of the region almost as quickly.

For a few brief moments the clouds parted enough to catch a glimpse of the eclipse. Credit: Luke Edwards | Fort Erie Radio

Niagara’s next chance to see a full solar eclipse won’t be for another 120 years. Hopefully Mother Nature cooperates then.

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