Plan to head Up North this spring as Michigan's Upper Peninsula is set to host a new festival that will have stargazers and space nerds flocking to one of the northernmost points in the state.

Just to be clear I use "space nerd" as a term of endearment--  because I am one! I'm simply fascinated by anything and everything having to do with space and the cosmos. Thankfully Michigan is one of the best places to stargaze. Here's what you need to know about this inaugural festival:

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Dark Sky Festival

Every year during International Dark Sky Week the public is encouraged to step outdoors and look up to discover the wonders of the night sky. Says the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA),

This annual week-long event aims to raise awareness about the negative impacts of light pollution, the solutions that exist and simultaneously celebrate the night.

This year to further illustrate the importance and value of the night sky the first-ever Upper Peninsula Dark Sky Festival will take place in Copper Harbor in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

What to Expect

The inaugural 2-day festival will take place April 21-22, 2023 and is set to feature guest speakers, workshops, adventure, and learning for all ages.

You may be wondering why this event is held in one of the farthest corners of Michigan. Well, that's because it's home to the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park which is only one of three parks in the entire state to be officially certified by the IDA as an International Dark Sky Park.

What Does That Mean?

Parks that hold this certification from the IDA meet certain criteria when it comes to light pollution. If you're visiting a park that is certified "dark" that means you're in one of the best spots in the world to stargaze.

According to the IDA, as of January 2023, there are 201 certified Dark Sky Places in the world-- 3 of those are in Michigan!

If you can't make it Up North to stargaze, don't worry. The only International Dark Sky Park to be located in Southwest Michigan is only a short drive away in Three Rivers. You can find a list of all of Michigan's Dark Sky Parks here.

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