On August 21, a total solar eclipse will black out the sun in the middle of the afternoon as the moon locks into perfect positioning between the Earth and the sun for the first time in 26 years. What makes this eclipse particularly unusual is that it will pass through the heart of America, with the 70-mile-wide “path of totality” (in which the sun is completely obscured by the moon) stretching across the middle of the country from Oregon to South Carolina.
The eclipse will cut a perfect diagonal swath through Missouri, which means pretty much everyone in the state is, at most, an hour-and-change car ride from experiencing a total solar eclipse. Lots of towns in the eclipse's path have reached the same conclusion and will welcome visitors with festivals featuring everything from live music to cow-patty bingo. Remember, however, that if you need tickets or reservations for something, it’s getting very late in the game (and make sure you have the right protective eyewear).