It's the final countdown to the eclipse and America's getting hyped.

For the first time in 38 years, an eclipse is going to hit the lower 48 states. People. Are. Getting. Hyped.

The eclipse will occur on Monday, Aug. 21, and pass over 14 states, from Oregon to South Carolina.

Image from NASA/Goddard/SVS/Ernie Wright.


Though there's a solar eclipse every 18 months, a total solar eclipse crossing the continental United States in such a perfect line is rare — in fact, it hasn't happened since 1918, though we'll get another chance in 2024.  The Atlantic has even pegged this as the greatest human migration to see a natural event in U.S. history.

It makes sense that people are making hay while the sun shines — or doesn't shine, as it were. Such a momentous, gigantic, joyous, literally astronomical event is expected to draw out millions of science-loving humans.

Check out a few of the most delightful, surprising, creative, and flat-out fun ways people are preparing to celebrate the occasion.

Some are throwing parties. Huge parties. We're talking religious-festival-with-15,000-people-sized parties.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky, will have one of the best views of the eclipse in the nation — so it's throwing a three-day festival called Solquest. Dedicated to witnessing "God's glory and his majesty," organizers are planning for live music, speakers, and prayer.

Meanwhile, Hopkinsville local Griffin Moore is stocking up her studio with plenty of solar-themed merch.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Her shop is one of many in town getting ready to capitalize on a giant influx of tourists.

Of course, no eclipse shindig would be complete without some custom, solar-themed hooch.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Married duo A.J. Casey Jones and Peg Hays have cooked up some Total Eclipse Moonshine in commemoration of the event. They forecast that 3,500 people will show up at their business, the Casey Jones Distillery.

Meanwhile, the local Singing Fork Baptist Church got some cheeky advertising ideas out of the event.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

And eclipse glasses are suddenly the must-have fashion accessory of the season.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Don't worry if you can't find any (and if you do, make sure they're legit) — there are still plenty of ways to safely watch, like building your own old-school pinhole projector.

NASA's just as keen on watching the eclipse as everyone else, though their equipment's a bit more ... sophisticated.

Photo from NASA's Johnson Space Center/Norah Moran.

The legendary aeronautics agency will use jets to chase the eclipse, stretching the two-and-a-half-minute event into a lengthy seven minutes. Their cameras will record images of the sun's corona, or outer atmosphere.

Over in Montana, they'll be celebrating by releasing giant bacteria-laden balloons into the atmosphere.

Photo from Montana State University.

Researchers at Montana State University have teamed up with NASA to launch some sky-high experiments. NASA's funding a total of 11 different science projects across the nation.

Astrologers, meanwhile, say the eclipse could foretell big things for President Trump, although they were light on specifics.

Zookeepers in Omaha are going to find out whether their giraffes know more about eclipses than they do.

A dog in England during the 2015 eclipse. Photo from Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images.

From bees to chickens, animals sometimes act a little wacky when the sky goes dark. During past eclipses, people have reported that birds stopped singing. Elephants headed for their sleeping areas. Chimpanzees stared confusedly at the sky.

So zoos and aquariums in the path of totality, including the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, will be keeping an eye on their animals.

And in the West, Oregon's already experiencing some ridiculous traffic jams.

People aren't just traveling by car either. 63-year-old Gary Parkerson of Louisiana is planning to bike all the way up to Nashville in order to get the very best views.

And plenty of people are taking their solar viewing party to the great outdoors. Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is predicting their busiest day ever.

The eclipse will cross over 21 different national parks. They're all sure to be packed.

All over the United States, scientists and the faithful, zookeepers and wild beasts, hooch-makers and police officers are coming together for a once-in-a-lifetime (OK, maybe twice-in-a-lifetime) historic event.

Listen, it's been a hard week. Hard year, really. But this is going to be really special and it's cool to see people getting hyped up. So get hyped up too. This is going to be awesome.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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