Inaugural “Midwest Space Fest” Scheduled Oct. 4 – 5 in Traverse City, Michigan

 Dr. Alex Filippenko Will Keynote the Inaugural Midwest Space Fest in Traverse City, Mich. Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau
Dr. Alex Filippenko Will Keynote the Inaugural Midwest Space Fest in Traverse City, Mich. Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau

Coinciding with World Astronomy Week this year is the inaugural Midwest Space Fest, Oct. 4 – 5, 2013, in Traverse City, Mich. I’m sure at least a few of my fellow Space Tweeps from NASA Socials/NASA Tweetups will be able to attend this new festival geared toward experiencing astronomy and space sciences.

Inaugural Festival Should Be Out of this World!
“It’s a big celebration of the wonders of the night sky,” said Carolyn McKellar, executive director of the festival.

The festival features two days of activities, films and talks including Dr. Alex Filippenko, Professor of Astronomy at the University of California-Berkeley, who will provide the keynote address.

The festival will begin in Traverse City’s art deco State Theatre with a screening of the Emmy-nominated documentary film, “The City Dark” followed by a “tour of the night sky” by Rogers Observatory director Jerry Dobek using fiber-optic “stars” installed in the theater ceiling during a recent renovation. The evening concludes with a discussion on light pollution by Mary Stewart Adams of the International Dark Sky Park.

Saturday’s activities include a free solar viewing at the city’s Open Space Park hosted by members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS), free indoor exhibits and activities, culminating in Alex Filippenko’s presentation on “Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe.” A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Filippenko is best known for his many appearances in the popular History Channel series, “The Universe,” and in the History Channel documentary, “STAR TREK: Secrets of The Universe.”

The “Star Party” on Saturday evening at the Open Space concludes the festival. Participants will have several opportunities to view the night sky through telescopes.

“You can look through telescopes at our amazing northern Michigan skies, enjoy a film, listen to music with a space theme or hear one of the greatest astronomers of our day talk about ‘runaway galaxies,’” said McKellar, “You can’t help but leave with a new feeling of wonder about the universe.”

Although I haven’t visited (yet), Traverse City is popular with astronomy enthusiasts because it’s located on a deep bay of Lake Michigan offering wide vistas and relatively lack of city lights. McKellar was one of those who gazed at Travers City’s night sky. She founded Magnetic North in 2012, a nonprofit organization devoted to creating educational events centered on the night sky, physics and space exploration.

Space is Limited
Don’t worry if you’re not a space geek. The Midwest Space Fest will appeal for all space enthusiasts and the scientifically impaired.

Visit to purchase your tickets and additional information. The All Access Pass for $50 offers the best value. Space is limited so book your tickets soon. (No pun intended.)

Find out what else is happening in Traverse City by visiting

Image Source: Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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