Thousands of people will visit Casper for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. And while the 2 minutes and 26 seconds of darkness will be the highlight, there will be plenty more to do.

There are a plethora of entertainment options for eclipse weekend, from celestial-themed music to community theater. The Wyoming Eclipse Festival in Casper, for example, is a collection of events that includes live music, street parties, theater, visual art, crafts and dance.

Downtown Casper will become a pedestrian walkway Aug. 18-21 to make way for an estimated 35,000 visitors. Businesses and venues throughout town, meanwhile, are hosting a variety of events, executive director of the Wyoming Eclipse Festival Anna Wilcox said.

Many businesses will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 20 for the All Day Downtown Festival.

“I think it’s really amazing how so many businesses and organizations have stepped up and are putting on something that is very true to them and tied to Casper, for not only our visitors to enjoy but also the folks who are in Casper to get out that whole weekend,” Wilcox said. “They’re supporting the community by getting out and attending some of these events.”

Besides a variety of live performances, several museums are hosting eclipse-themed shows and preparing for extra visitors. Casper museums plan to be open all weekend, said Rachel Hedges, marketing coordinator for the Casper Museum Consortium.

“When people come to town, they want to know what this town is about,” Hedges said. “What’s the history? What’s great about this town? They’ll seek out the museums.”

The Casper Star-Tribune compiled this guide of highlights from Wyoming Eclipse Festival website and event planners to help you sort through the options.

For more information and options, go to eclipsecasper.com.

Music

The Machine performs a mix of Pink Floyd’s repertoire with a dramatic, interstellar laser light and multimedia show. The New York band plays major music festivals and sells out theaters, large clubs and casinos across the world. The Machine “duplicates the sound and hits of Pink Floyd with chilling accuracy,” according to a review by Rolling Stone magazine. Townsquare media presents the show 9:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at Mike Lansing Field, with local openers EasySide at 8 p.m. Bring lawn chairs and blankets, or take a seat in the grandstands. Tickets are $35 through Aug. 17, $45 at the gate or $70 for VIP with a special seating section, private bar and up-close parking. Get tickets at http://bit.ly/2vlGmq6.

The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra presents “Close Encounters of the Symphonic Kind” outdoors with violin virtuoso of Alexander Markov performing his rock concerto on a gold, six-string, electric violin. The concert will take place Aug. 20 at Washington Park and features hits from “Star Wars Suite” “E.T.,” “Adventures on Earth” and “Apollo 13.” The Casper Children’s Chorale opens with a piece specially commissioned for the Eclipse. Info: wyomingsymphony.org/eclipse.

Wyoming Eclipse Festival at David Street Station headlines Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band with support from local and regional favorites The Barrel House Band, Chad Lore and the Lore Four, John Kirlin, Steve Frame & his Western Rebels, John May, JD Blues Band and the Oil City Slickers. Entertainment also includes in-character storytelling, country dance lessons, magic shows, dance performances and the Caper Troopers Drum and Bugle Corp. The festival features a vendor market, kid’s zone, food trucks and beer and malt beverages for sale. This free event runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 18-21. Chancey Williams takes the stage at 4 p.m. Aug. 21. For a schedule, go to davidstreetstation.com.

The Uprising Music Festival features Dove-award winning Christian group Sidewalk Prophets Aug. 20 at Mike Lansing Field. The event features six other regional and national Christian artists and an after-party hosted by Denver electronic dance music group Transform DJs.

The event begins with a community worship service at 12 p.m. with music from 1:30 to 10 p.m.

The event is free, and merchandise vendors will be available. For more information, go to The Uprising on Facebook.

Yellowstone Garage features a free festival with food, a beer garden and live music 6-10 p.m. Aug. 17, 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Aug. 18, 10 a.m.-12 a.m. August 19-20 and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 21 at 355 W. Yellowstone Hightway. For information, go to yellowstonegarage.com.

Backwards Distilling Company hosts eclipse viewing with singer/songwriter Inda Eaton. Tickets include catered lunch, snacks, water, eclipse viewing glasses and a cocktail in a souvenir cup. The party is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 21. Limited tickets are $75 at (307) 472-1275 or backwardsdistilling.com.

Urban Bottle features John Kirlin back in his hometown 7-10 p.m. Aug. 19 at Urban Bottle, 410 S. Ash St.

The Eagles Lodge No. 306 features Steve Frame 8 p.m.-12 a.m. Aug. 18. Karaoke night is 8 p.m.-12 a.m. Aug. 19. Admission is a $5 temporary Eagles membership. The lodge is located at 306 N. Durbin. For information, call (307) 235-5130

Riverfest features live music, beer tasting, food trucks and the the Casper Rotary Club’s annual Duck Derby 12:30-5:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at Mike Lansing Field, 1101 N Poplar St. Local and regional music includes Barrel House, Grant Sabin and The Kris Lager Band along with games and vendor booths. Admission is free, craft brew tasting with commemorative cup is available for $25 in advance, $30 at the gates. For information, go to casperriverfest.com or call (307) 577-1206

The Eclipse Block Party At Vintage features Casper’s One Child Left Behind 4-8 p.m. Aug. 19 at Vintage Fine Wine and Martini Bar, 1016 S Poplar St.

Rock the Rooftop features an eclipse viewing party with Steve Frame & Western Rebels Monday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 21 on the roof of the Wyoming Medical Center’s west parking garage, 1233 E. Second St. The event features food, kids’ karaoke and Safe Kids activities. Tickets are $10 and include viewing glasses. Tailgaiting packages are $120 and include 10 event passes and a reserved viewing spots. Proceeds benefit the WMC Volunteers Caring Closet Program, which provides clothing for patients who need them for discharge. For tickets or more information, call (307) 577-2794. The Eastridge Mall Eclipse Fest offers free entertainment and activities all day for all ages Aug. 18-21 at 601 S.E. Wyoming Blvd. Highlights include evening outdoor concerts including Red Butte 5 to 6 p.m. Aug. 19; Mastermind of Monkey 4:30-6:30 p.m. Aug. 20; and Steve Frame 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 20. The event also features a beer garden, car show, local artists, vendors, bouncy houses, petting zoo and carnival games. For information, go to eclipsecasper.com

Visual Art

A free reception with E.K. Wimmer for his show, “A Trace of Memory” is 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 18 at Scarlows Gallery, 122 W. Second St. The event includes space-themed music, a pop-up cash bar by Urban Bottle and other eclipse-themed art in the gallery loft.

“Space and time, beginning and end. What does it mean to exist and why do we feel the need to explain it?” Wimmer said in his artist statement. “These basic existential questions are the foundation of ‘A Trace of Memory...’”

For more information, go to goedickescasperart.com

Casper Artist Melanie Myron’s exhibit “Not Totally Eclipsed” and the open-call “Space and Eclipse Art Show” are on display this month at ART 321, 321 W. Midwest Ave.

The Nicolaysen Art Musuem features three eclipse and space themed shows at at 400 E. Collins St.

Wyoming artist Patrick Kikut will give a talk about his show, “Square States and Moonscapes” 2 p.m. Aug. 19. Kikut’s paintings place images of the moon in context with the Western landscape. Kikut drew inspiration from a 2013 lunar eclipse he saw while driving a Wyoming highway and expanded ideas of Western landscapes.

Renowned art dealer Fred Taraba of Casper will give a talk from 2-3 p.m. Aug. 19: “Out of this World: Sci-Fi Art from the Collection of Fred Taraba.” The show features original illustration art for sci-fi magazines from the 1940s to 1970s.

“To the Stars: Space Photography from the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory” features images of distant planets, moons and stars.

Stage performances

“Prometheus” re-tells of the ancient story of the Titan god who gave the gift of fire to the human race. The play, written and directed by Casper College’s William Conte, debuts at Stage III Community Theatre, 900 N. Center St.

In a special 10 a.m. Aug. 21 performance, Prometheus’s theft of fire from the sun coincides with the moment of the eclipse. Other performances are 7 p.m. Aug. 17, 19 and 20. Admission is $10 and includes free eclipse glasses Aug. 21.

Stage III also features a new escape room Aug. 19-21. Groups have 45 minutes to search the throne room for Persephone’s pearls. Tickets are $20 at stageiiitheatre.org.

The Keyhole Peepshow burlesque troupe performs “A Total Eclipse of the Bum!” 9 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Black Gold Grille, 1650 W. English Ave. The “all new, anything goes show” features games, show girls and two new guest performers. Ages 18 and older are permitted. Tickets are $12 in advance at http://bit.ly/2vwyHF4, $15 at the door and $30 for VIP.

Follow reporter Elysia Conner on Twitter @erconner

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