Dark Skies

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just earlier today I mentioned my love for looking up at the stars. I can spend hours doing it, but living in the city as I do the stars get drowned out by the city lights. That is something that has always taken the fun out of stargazing for me. I have always wondered what it would be like to have a sky full of stars without having to go out to the middle of nowhere. In Florida, I found out a festival that is trying to stop light pollution and allow for uninterrupted stargazing. The Dark Sky Festival will be a fun experience it looks like with telescopes provided to look up at the stars, music, and guest speakers. The festival is promoting environmentally intelligent lighting and practices for better living. The festival actually kicks off National Dark Sky Week which also promotes those same practices. This is one national event I've never heard of before, but this wouldn't be the first time I've missed something. It is something I find interesting though. I'm thinking it would be nice to be able to go out and stare up at the sky and actually see the stars again. You can read more about the festival below.

Get Ready! This Year’s Dark Sky Festival is Out-of-this-World

HARMONY, FL – March 15, 2008 – The 5th Annual Dark Sky Festival at Harmony will be held on Saturday, April 5, 2008. Sponsored by the Harmony Institute, the Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau, several astronomy clubs, the Osceola News Gazette and Florida Travel & Life Magazine, the event will kick off at 7pm in Harmony's Town Square.

“The Dark Sky Festival is intended to celebrate and promote the benefits of a night-sky free from the effects of excessive artificial lighting,” said Greg Golgowski, Harmony’s Conservation Director and a key member of the Dark Sky Festival Planning Committee. “Poor outdoor lighting not only washes out the splendor of the heavens, but also reduces visibility at night, wastes energy, and disturbs wildlife.”

As with the past four Dark Sky Festivals, attendees will be able to enjoy viewing the night skies through a variety of telescopes. There also be lots of music and food, numerous specialty booths, an educational zone with presentations from astronomers and other scientists, nocturnal creatures, a Cosmic Kids Zone and so much more.”

Local favorite, the Silver Clouds Orchestra, will start the entertainment portion of the evening at 7:00pm. This will be followed by a free concert by legendary recording artists, Rare Earth.

Rare Earth will take to Harmony’s outdoor amphitheatre stage at 8:00pm for a live concert chock full of their greatest hits including “Get Ready” and “I Just Want to Celebrate.”

“We are ecstatic to have Rare Earth performing at this year’s Festival,” said Shad Tome, president of Harmony Development Group. “We are encouraging everyone to wear comfortable shoes because Rare Earth is known for getting the whole audience up and dancing.”

The festival will be emceed by Magic 107.7’s afternoon drive on-air personality and program director Ken Payne.

The Festival is open to the general public. Over 3,500 people are expected to attend the event this year. The event will conclude around 11:00pm.

This date was selected because it falls on the heels of National Dark Sky week (March 29 – April 4); where people in the United States are encouraged to turn out their unnecessary outdoor lights in order to temporarily reduce light pollution.

For more information, please visit www.DarkSkyFestival.com or call 407-891-8358.


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