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News information about West Plains and surrounding areas of interest

View the Great North American Eclipse in West Plains

The April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse is still months away, but now is the time to make a plan for an optimal viewing experience. While the path of the eclipse is long in the U.S., stretching from Texas to Maine, a relatively small band of totality will be seen in southeast Missouri. One of the best opportunities for the rest of Missouri residents to view this special astronomical occurrence is in West Plains where the path of totality will surpass the three-minute mark and a local task force has been planning for the event for the past two and a half years.

Out of the group’s planning has come the “Party in the Path,” a four-day festival which kicks off with a concert on Friday, April 5, and continues over the weekend to include a neon parade, a 5K run, hot air balloon glow, stock car races, food truck rodeo, art shows and many other activities, leading up to and including the main event on Monday, April 8, when totality begins at 1:54 p.m.

City of West Plains Tourism Manager, Melissa Wharton, says, “Those who are fortunate enough to have experienced a total solar eclipse know that it is a breath-taking sight and not to be missed. For others who have never witnessed totality, the 2024 eclipse could likely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a true bucket-list item. Come visit us, and mark it off your list in West Plains.”

Wharton also notes that West Plains is an ideal choice for eclipse viewing because the city is the largest in a 100-mile radius in Missouri, and its infrastructure, overall, is better prepared for an influx of visitors than many of the surrounding, smaller communities. “Additionally,” she says, “just to the west of West Plains, the path of totality is measured in seconds, not minutes, so driving an extra twenty miles to our city center is crucial to maximizing the eclipse experience. As the county seat of Howell County, resources are available to provide amenities and entertainment to add to the special experience, and a four-lane highway is at our door step.”

More information about the area and the eclipse is available online at For other questions, please contact the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center at or 417-256-8835. For updates, like and follow Eclipse West Plains on Facebook or Instagram.