Under the Darkened Sun: GorbelĀ® Hosts a Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party

Sarah Weise
| Apr 17, 2024
Eclipse Group Photo

Surrounded by the splendor of spring, 600 Gorbel® employees turned their eyes to the sky on April 8, 2024, to witness a defining celestial event – a total solar eclipse. While eclipses of this type happen every eighteen months, one had not been visible in New York since 1925. Many anticipated this event for years, including our CEO Brian Reh: “I remember about five years ago learning that our community would be in the path of totality… it is rare for a total solar eclipse to pass North America, but it is crazy rare for it to pass directly over your home.”

Inspired by the eclipse, Brian suggested hosting a company viewing party at Ravenwood Golf Course. Ravenwood was built by the founder of Gorbel® and is close to our headquarters in Fishers, New York. Brian described our location as “the center of a galactic wonder” when asked about why hosting an event was important to him. Many team members were involved in the planning, which started nearly a year in advance. The event marked a significant post-pandemic gathering, reminiscent of our company’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

A Setting for All Ages
Employees were encouraged to bring family and friends to create a multigenerational event. From the youngest stargazers to our seasoned astronomers, everyone could delight in the many activities as Ravenwood transformed into a cosmic playground. Kids enjoyed balloon animals and a magician, while also creating keepsakes like solar sand art. Dan Casellas, a Plant Manager who brought his young daughter, said “She loves science and this event kept her engaged in the wonders of the world.”

Adults interacted with a large-scale solar system display and mingled over space-themed beverages. The weather was mild, so many took time to stroll the grounds and contemplate the eclipse. Some activities added to the anticipation of the day, like 40+ raffles and custom Gorbel® t-shirts. A photo booth and caricature artist also captured the fun.

Since spring weather is unpredictable in the Northeast, activities and entertainment were integral in case the eclipse was obscured by cloud cover. “I wanted Gorbel employees and their family to enjoy themselves with or without eclipse viewing,” said Christina Green, a key member of the event planning team. 


The Moment of Totality
When the moon began to obscure the sun at 2:00pm that afternoon, a hush fell over the crowd. With 600 people in attendance, the atmosphere was electric. Jack Siembor, a member of our Customer Service Team who attended, said “it was very cool having such a big group at the party because everybody could experience it together.”

The eclipse was obscured by cloud cover, but there were many observable effects. The temperature dropped rapidly and as darkness fell, nature responded – crickets chirped, bats fluttered, and birds hurried to their nests. When asked about the moment of totality, many Gorbel® employees had unique ways of explaining what they experienced:
Solar Eclipse Skyline

“The light faded so rapidly as if someone turned off a switch in the sky, and then it was back on in minutes.”
– Dillon Card, Senior Web Developer

“Think of it as a really bad thunderstorm rolling in, everything gets dark, but this was unlike any dark I've ever experienced.”
– Christina Green, Marketing and Events Strategist

“Imagine diving underwater for a few minutes of peace and silence to then suddenly emerge to a vibrant atmosphere of smiles. THAT is a special feeling that is hard to capture with mere words.”
– Brian Reh, CEO

“The surreal sky was black in mid-afternoon and there was a cool breeze touching our faces. With hundreds of friends beside me buzzing with anticipation and electricity, I felt a moment of awe and togetherness.”
– Elaine Murphy, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist

A Testament to Gorbel® Culture
The Total Solar Eclipse Party at Ravenwood was a celebration of community, teamwork, and culture. It was a day where Gorbel® employees and their families came together to share in the awe of the universe. For those who attended, the party will become more than just a memory as time continues. It will be a touchstone – a reminder that beneath our daily tasks and deadlines, we are stardust in the cosmos.

A Special Thank You to Our Eclipse Planning Team:
Christina Green, Brian Reh, Lisa Wiborg, Linda DeMuth, JoAnne Wilson, Mackenzie Rhody, Jennifer D'Alessandro, Michael Greer, April McFadden, Craig Fenn, Sue Wallace, Jeff Jones, Pam Miller-Jones, Franklin Allen, Matt Dalton, Rohit Patankar, Toby Reh, Jennifer Gossage, Katie Love, Peter George, David Granata and the many more who helped along the way!

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