McCarthy Beach State Park to host Dark Sky Festival

McCarthy Beach State Park will host the Dark Sky Festival on Saturday, Aug. 12 with a full day and evening of events interpreting and celebrating our night skies.

Programs will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until midnight.

Program schedule:

10 a.m. Learn how light pollution impacts our health, how to reduce light pollution and save money from Starry Skies Duluth.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Night sky photography exhibit by Root River Photography.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Solar viewing with Astro Bob; solar shades provided.

2 – 3 p.m. Discover Ojibwe and D(L)akota star knowledge and the importance of the stars in their cultures.

3 – 4 p.m. Make your own Ojibwe and D(L)akota planishphere to help locate native constellations all year long.

7 – 8 p.m. Night sky and Aurora borealis photography workshop with Heidi Pinkerton of Root River Photography.

8 – 9 p.m. Nighttime spider hike with Larry Weber; bring a flashlight.

9 p.m. – Midnight.  Stargazing and telescope viewing with the Range and Arrowhead Astronomy Clubs from McCarthy’s beach. Bringing a red light or flashlight covered with red cellophane is recommended to preserve your night vision.

“This event really explores the natural phenomena of our often overlooked, night skies,” said park manager, Dawn Ryan. “It’s an opportunity to get away from city lights and explore the history and culture surrounding our stars and constellations, see the Perseid meteor shower at its peak, and learn more about the upcoming solar eclipse.” Most of the events will be held outdoors at the picnic shelter. Day visitors are invited to bring a picnic lunch, enjoy the park’s popular, sandy beach, and stay the entire day.  No RSVP is required.

A vehicle permit is required at McCarthy Beach State Park and there is no additional cost to attend this event. Visitors can purchase a vehicle permit at the park office for $7 for a one-day permit or $35 for a year-round permit.

McCarthy Beach State Park is located at 7622 McCarthy Beach Road, Side Lake, Minn. From the town of Hibbing, take U.S. Highway 169 north to Highway 73 in Chisholm. From Chisholm, follow Highway 5 north for 16 miles to the park.

Questions about the Dark Sky Festival can be directed to the park office at 218-274-7200. More information about McCarthy Beach State Park can be found at