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Capitol gears up for the solar eclipse

The Oregon State Capitol in Salem is one of five state capitols in the path of the totality of the eclipse.

KENJI SUGAHARA/TRAVEL OREGON - The golden pioneer at the top the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. Photo courtesy of Travel Oregon.The Oregon State Capitol is one of five statehouses in the path of totality of the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21.

Oregon's will be the first state capitol building to experience the eclipse, according to the Oregon State Capitol Foundation.

Salem will witness the eclipse for nearly two minutes.

To honor the once-in-a-lifetime extraterrestrial event, a series of events will be held at the capitol on Eclipse Weekend, starting Saturday, Aug. 19.

The building will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21., and there will be intermittent guided tours of the building over the weekend.

Here's what you can expect to go down as you prepare to look up:

Saturday, 11:30 a.m.: a free "Out-of-This World" concert by the Salem Philarmonia Orchestra, featuring music from Star Wars, Star Trek and Holst's The Planets and Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.: A lecture by Oregon Museum of Science & Industry educator Jim Todd on how to "get the most out of viewing the eclipse" and its stages. The lecture will be streaming online at oregonlegislature.gov.

Monday, 9:05 a.m.: Margaret McCrea, the president of Rose City Astronomers, will narrate the eclipse. The foundation will supply free eclipse viewing glasses before 9 a.m. and "while supplies last." For the philatelics out there, the state capitol foundation will also be selling a special stamp — "Total Eclipse of the Sun" — between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is getting in on the eclipse hype too: she'll be hosting a press conference on eclipse preparations at the State Fairgrounds in Salem at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 15.

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