"I've loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night"
Participating Groups & Entities
Memphis Astronomical Society
Arkansas Outdoor Photography Club
Buffalo River Partners
The Ozark Society
Silver Hill Float Service
Searcy Co. Chamber of Commerce
Buffalo River Community Dev. Corp. Searcy Co.
Arkansas Environmental Education Association
Central Arkansas Astronomical Society
AR Space Grant Consortium
West Tennessee IDA
Lights Out Heartland
Buffalo River Art Gallery
Girl Scouts, Diamonds of AR, OK & TX
Sugar Creek Astronomical Society
North Central AR Master Naturalist
Greater Ozarks Audubon Society
"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream."
-Vincent Van Gogh
"And oft, before tempestuous winds arise, / The seeming stars fall headlong from the skies, /And, shooting through the darkness, gild the night / With sweeping glories and long trains of light."
Activities and Events
A Naked Eye Guided Tour of the Fall sky and its constellations seasoned with classic folklore.
Telescopic Star Party
Telescopic views of the most prominent features of the Fall sky - open clusters, galaxies, planets and more
Celestial Art Class
Learn to draw celestial scenes Link to sign up to be added soon.
Learn the fundamentals of Sky watching - naked eye and with binoculars
Observing the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse
A total cclipse is coming to Arkansas in 2024. Get ready for this once in a life time event.
Birds, wildlife and much more.
Learn about birds and wildlife and how they depend upon the night.
Lighting Your Home Responsibly
Learn how and why to light your home responsibly
Globe at Night Citizen Scientist
Learn how to measure and report your sky's light pollution level and record it as a citizen scientist
A Pocket Solar System
Learn about the scale of the solar system and put it in your pocket
Nightscape Photography Contest
View and vote on Arkansas night scape photographs Link to enter to be added soon.
Children's Celestial Art Contest
Try your hand a rendering a sketch of a celestial object and vote on which you think are the best.
Giant Bubble Blowing
Who can make the biggest bubble or send theirs the farthest.
Hands on Science Projects, Solar Marshmellows and More
Explore various hands own science projects and cook marshmallows with sun light.
And much more: door prizes, stomp rockets, giant bubble blowing...
Meet Stella the night wise owl!
I am Stella the Night-Wise Owl. I was drafted to help ANSA advocate for Responsible Lighting and preservation of our state's remaining natural sky resources, but right now, I am here to help you learn about and enjoy this festival.
I am a nocturnal expert, but most modern humans have lost their connection to nature at night. I bet you have never been to a Dark-Sky event, and when was the last time you laid under the Milky Way and counted shooting stars?
When have you looked upon a distant galaxy, through a real telescope, whose light has been traveling for millions of years to make you a witness to its existence?
When have you seen the ghostly remnants of a dying star or the soft glow of a stellar nursery birthing new ones?
Half of nature is at night, and the Buffalo is as beautiful at night as it is in the day with its nearly natural night skies.
Below you will find links to some helpful resources. My festival guide will provide detailed information on the festival activities and times. The Scavenger Hunt is an optional challenge event, and the Binocular Advice is what it sounds like.
I should also note that there is more important information in the Festival Store in the next section about the use of lighting at the festival. If you have more questions, email me, [email protected]
"Time under the stars melds mind and soul, stirring one healing the other."
-Stella, the Night-Wise Owl (as all owls are you know)
Night Scape Photo Contest
Drawing upon the International Dark-Sky Association's Capture the Night photo contest, Dark-Sky festival participants will have the opportunity to vote on winners in seven different categories of Arkansas night sky images.
"The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff."
Places to Stay, Eat, and Visit
The services feature below are not part of the event and the organizers take no responsibility for the services provided. These links are offered solely to make your festival planning easier. Where you stay can be half the adventure, so be open to new possibilities. . (Volunteers should sign up before reserving a plate to stay as there may be special options available.)
Places to Stay
Stella's Dark-Sky Host Map
Searcy Co. Chamber Lodging Website
Gilbert General Store - Camping & cabins
Gilbert RV Park
Vacation Home/Cabin Rentals
There are a number of vacation rentals in the area that can be found on the internet.
Food & Beverage
Area Dining Options
Gilbert General Store
Coursey's Smoked Meats
Points of Interest & Special Services
Buffalo River Art Gallery
Located in a restored 1920 home and featuring works exclusively by AR artist, the gallery is a top feature to visit in Gilbert. The Gallery will be hosting a celestial art class and have a special celestial art display. Use this link to reserve your spot in the class.
Woodland Wonders Nursery
The Festival Store!
The festival is free, but there are a few things you might find useful, such as a red or amber flashlight as white light will be prohibited on the observing field. The keychain flashlight below is a ready answer for only $7.50 with a handy ANSA neck lanyard. Use the Basic Approach to purchase for pick up at the event along with a free copy of October's SkyMap. Two or more people can share, but price drops the more you buy. Supplies are limited so order early. Add a copy of ANSA's Learn the Constellation guide and you will really be set.
Use the Membership Approach below and we will mail it.
The Basic Approach
BASIC MEMBERSHIP - $15
Members can join our member's group on our mobilize.io platform where they can meet and correspond with other members, receive special updates on ANSA activities, and participate in the annual membership meeting. Members receive a decal and literature and have priority notice of ANSA events. But, most importantly members have the satisfaction of supporting ANSA's efforts.
ADVOCATE'S MEMBERSHIP - $25
Advocate members also receive up to two custom ANSA neck lanyards and redlight key chain flashlights (just specify two in the note to merchant). Perfect for lighting your way while preserving your night vision.
STELLA'S CIRCLE - $50
For those willing to make a larger contribution you'll receive your choice of a copy of ANSA's Learn the Constellations booklet or the glow-in-the-dark constellation bandana and up to two membership decals and light/lanyard sets (just specify two in the note to merchant).