Though clouds threatened to blot out one of the most spectacular events in nearly four decades, all eyes were turned towards the sky Monday afternoon as a crowd of about 100 locals gathered for the solar eclipse viewing party at Graham A. Barden Elementary in Havelock.

The historic eclipse carved a narrow "path of totality" all the way from Oregon to South Carolina. Cloud scudded skies temporarily blocked the view in some places, raising anxiety among eclipse watchers, but the clouds ultimately cleared long enough for most Craven County viewers to get a glimpse.

Stewart Hassell and his grandson, Parker, walked the grounds of the school Monday letting local youngsters take a peek inside their homemade eclipse viewing box, which showed a reverse image of the moon passing in front of the sun.

“It’s pretty exciting stuff. This is will be the first time a lot of the younger folks have experienced an eclipse,” said Hassell.

Standing near the school’s walking track, Bakari Johnson and his 9-year-old daughter, Anna, donned protective viewing glasses as they gazed up at the sun.

“We’ve been talking about this for a while, what an eclipse is and how it can be seen depending on where you are. My daughter’s excited so that’s why I’m here,” said Johnson.

Camped out on the grass, Shanna Herman and Jaydon Huyck said they both had been looking forward to the event for weeks.

“I was so excited I took the day off,” said Herman. “It’s awesome being out here with friends and family seeing something that a lot of people have never experienced before.”

The next total solar eclipse in America will be in 2024. The next coast-to-coast one, however, won't take place until 2045.