Celebrates “dark sky” status with activities, music, stargazing

The Friends of Enchanted Rock (FOER) and the staff of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (ERSNA) are inviting the public to the first Enchanted “Rock Star” Festival on Saturday, Feb 21. The event will take place at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 16710 Ranch Rd. 965, 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, TX. Regular park admission applies and includes access to all activities, which run the entire day and into the evening.

According to Melissa Mial, event spokesperson, the purpose of the inaugural event is to celebrate Enchanted Rock’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park and Texas Park’s and Wildlife’s Dark Sky Initiative and increase awareness of the benefits of dark sky friendly lighting.

“We have a great line up of guest speakers and exhibitors, including Bill Wren, McDonald Observatory’s ‘Dark Sky Ambassador,’” said Mial, who helped organize the event along with ERSNA Interpreter Ranger Scott Whitener. “We want folks to enjoy the daytime activities, experience the magical world of a star-filled night, and leave the event inspired to use dark sky friendly lighting in their own communities.”

FOER and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area staff work together throughout the year to monitor the sky quality, keep all lights in the park dark sky friendly, teach visitors about the many benefits of good lighting, and offer regularly scheduled star gazing events.

The celebration begins at 7:00 a.m. with a special Sunrise Ceremony on top of the Summit. Festival activities resume at 12 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. with a Moon-Less Summit Hike and Star Party. The daylong activities include presentations on bats, owls, astrophotography, night sky friendly lighting, winter constellations and dark sky photography. There will be kids astronomy activities, campfire storytelling, sundown yoga on the summit, and solar telescope viewing. Terry Theis on accordion and Marshall “Mo” Adams on harmonica will provide music for all ages. “Moonshine” the Magician will be doing face painting using black light paints, followed by dark sky magic games.

“We are proud of our pristine skies over Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and of our work to keep it that way,” Mial said. “Our beautiful, starry Hill Country nights are worth celebrating!”

Event sponsors are Hill Country Alliance and Whole Earth Provision Company. Co-sponsors are Hill Country Land Trust and Texas Public Radio.

Fredericksburg’s Sweet Marleys and Bakery Joju will offer food and drink on the grounds, including sandwiches, frozen yogurt, wood fired pizzas, baked goods, coffee, cocoa and hot apple cider.

For information on the event and park, along with status of crowds, contact the TPWD Enchanted Rock office at 830 685 3636, or visithttp://www.friendsofenchantedrock.blogspot.com or http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/enchanted-rock.

Full Schedule of Events
Enchanted “Rock Star” Festival
Sat, Feb 21, 2015

7:00-7:30 am Sunrise Summit Celebration w/Rev. Jeff Hammond. Join us on the summit of Enchanted Rock, where we will begin the new day in a moment of reflection and gratitude.

10:00 am – Noon Booth Setup in Day Use area by the Summit Trail Gazebo

Noon-6:00 pm – Booths open for public browsing

In the tent:

12:00 pm – “A Snapshot of the Sun” w/ Mark Ward, Hill Country Astronomy / Dark Sky Photography w/ Rob Greebon Photography

1:00 pm – Kids Bat Presentation & Puppet Show w/ Nyta Brown, Old Bat Tunnel & Craig Hensley, Guadalupe River SP

2:00 pm – Kids Owl Presentation w/Craig Hensley, Guadalupe River SP/Honey Creek SNA & Kent Rylander, TTU Biol Prof & Author

3:00 pm – International Dark Sky Park Dedication Ceremony followed by “Better Lights for Starry Nights” Bill Wren McDonald Observatory’s “Ambassador of Dark Skies”

4:30 pm – Astrophotography w/Ken Kattner, Putman Mountain Observatory

5:30 pm – Winter Constellations and Star Charts w/ Dr. Chris Keating, Astronomy/Physics Prof, member of Mason Astronomy Group

5:30 pm – “Sundown Yoga at the Summit” w/Patty Williamson, Lizard Dreaming Yoga

6:00 pm – Storytelling around the campfire with Ira Kennedy. Campfire tunes with Marshall Adams

7:00 pm – Constellation Tour w/Bill Wren and Ken Kattner

8:00 pm-10:00 pm – Star Party. Telescope viewing with Hill Country Astronomy, Mason and Austin astronomy groups

8:30 pm – “Moon-less” Walk to the summit w/ ERSNA Interpretive Ranger Scott Whitener

Around the grounds:

Hill Country Alliance with great information on dark sky preservation throughout the Hill Country

“Who Lives at The Rock” a look at Enchanted Rock’s resident critters w/ Kent Rylander, TTU Biology Professor & Author

“Moths in the Light” moth exhibit w/ Delmar Cain, Boerne Chapter NPSOT member, “Recovering” Attorney

“Galaxies of the Winter Sky” at Star Party w/ Peter Van Bavel, Austin Astronomical Association

Star Stations hands-on astronomy activities for kids of all ages

Texas Public Radio’s Community Liaison, Mikey Baker

Biedermann’s Fredericksburg Ace Hardware Dark Sky Lighting display

International Dark Sky Association Dark Sky display

Silent Auction w/ Whole Earth Provision Co Celestron Cosmos 90GT telescope & more!

Kids Blacklight Face Painting & Juggling with Moonshine the Magician, aka Shannon Anderson

Food: Sweet Marleys sandwiches and frozen yogurt, Bakery JoJu wood fired pizzas and more…

Entertainment: Terry Theis accordian and Marshall “Mo” Adams harmonica – music for all ages!