Greenwood plans pre-eclipse party, offers wide-open viewing spaces

An unexpected cancellation will leave Greenwood with one less eclipse-viewing activities this coming weekend.

But local officials have planned a wealth of opportunities to take full advantage of an event most won’t ever see again in their lifetimes.

The total eclipse airport party set for Monday at BOLDAviation at the Indy South Greenwood Airport has been canceled, said Jason Newbold, founder of BOLDAviation.

The airport event was envisioned to include a fly-in or drive-in with numerous food trucks, live music, other entertainment, and airplanes on displays on the day of the eclipse. Heightened safety concerns forced organizers to rethink it, Newbold said.

“A lot of airports in the area, and along the line of the eclipse, had security concerns,” he said. “Opening to the public without having an idea how many people were trying to attend, we have limited space, and they were worried about having enough people and security. So they decided to cancel the event.”

Those who had planned on the airport party can find plenty to do elsewhere in the city.

Leading into Monday’s total solar eclipse, Greenwood organizers are starting the party a little early. Local residents and visitors alike are invited to the city’s pre-eclipse GLOW party. Tethered glowing hot air balloon rides, live music, food and drinks are all scheduled throughout the afternoon, from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Then on the day of the eclipse, Craig Park, Freedom Park and Old City Park will all be open, providing wide open space for viewing the celestial event.

“That’s what we do from a parks department standpoint. We’re very focused on community relations. When we heard about this eclipse and the buzz around it a couple years ago, we started soft-planning it,” said Rob Taggart, executive director of Greenwood Parks and Recreation. “It’s going to be a great experience. We like to do events, we like to do things for community engagement. This one has a much bigger reach, though.”

As they were planning for the eclipse, the idea was to put together an event that showed off Greenwood’s community assets in the best ways. Officials reached out to cities who had been in the path of totality during the 2017 eclipse to get a sense of what to expect.

With thousands upon thousands of additional people potentially making their way to Johnson County, the idea was to create a one-day event to give those people, and local residents, something entertaining to do.

“It would be a pre-eclipse event, with the thought that, we’d have all of these visitors in town a couple days prior, setting up their accommodations,” Taggart said. “That would be the real time they’ve be out-and-about looking for things to do, in advance of the actual April 8 eclipse.”

The GLOW event will have all of the watermarks of Greenwood’s successful festivals — live music by My Yellow Rickshaw and Tastes Like Chicken, and a variety of food and beverages available on the event lawn at Craig Park.

But the hot air balloons was something new organizers wanted to offer, Taggart said.

“We thought of that very early on. We needed something dynamic that hasn’t been done anywhere. (Hot air balloons) had that whole space-and-sky relationship as well,” he said. “It’s a good attraction for people to do in Greenwood; we’ve never done anything like that.”

People will have a chance to see Greenwood from a new perspective alongside the other glowing hot air balloons as evening arrives. Event goers can pre-register for tethered hot air balloon rides by reaching out to parks and recreation team.

Taggart emphasized that the balloon rides are weather-dependent; people are encouraged to follow the Greenwood Parks and Recreation Facebook page for event updates.

On the day of the eclipse, city officials have highlighted Craig Park, Freedom Park and Old City Park as ideal eclipse-viewing spaces. If people are within walking distance of these parks, they are encouraged to using the walking trails or bike paths is recommended as driving may be difficult.

City-owned parking lots will have special event parking rates for the eclipse. The City will be instituting a fee of $20 per vehicle for the designated parking lots on Monday.

“We’ll be charging a one-day event for parking lots, in anticipation that a lot of people are going to be looking for spaces to view the eclipse,” Taggart said. “We’ll be manning a lot of the downtown city Greenwood and around the Surina Way area parking lots.”

Portable toilets will be available and lots will open at 6 a.m. on the morning of the eclipse. No oversized vehicles or RVs will be permitted. Parking lot fees will be lifted once all phases of the eclipse are finished.



What: A pre-eclipse event featuring live music from My Yellow Rickshaw and Tastes Like Chicken, food and beverage and glowing hot air balloon rides, weather permitting. Be sure to follow the Greenwood Parks and Recreation Facebook page for event updates.

When: 5-9 p.m. Sunday

Where: Craig Park, 10 E. Smith Valley Road, Greenwood

Eclipse viewing

Greenwood will have Craig Park, Freedom Park and Old City Park open for eclipse viewing. City parking lots will be available for parking and viewing, for $20. Those lots include:

  • City Center Park: 415 Lincoln St.
  • Craig Park: 10 E. Smith Valley Rd., lots off Smith Valley Road and Washington Street
  • Freedom Park: 850 W. Stop Rd.
  • Greenwood Community Center: 100 Surina Way, lot between Community Center and Police Department on Surina Way
  • Old City Park: Lot located off Surina Way
  • Parking Garage: 520 S. Meridian St.
  • Parking lot located between McKinley Street and Washington Street, north of Main Street.
  • Parking lot located between Motors Plus and Bethel Chin Baptist Church on Main Street

Viewing locations, parking details and trails for easy travel are available on the city’s website, visit

People can pay $20 to park in nine Greenwood-owned parking facilities and lots, highlighted in red, for the April 8 total solar eclipse. Provided by the city of Greenwood