"I've loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night"

-Sarah Williams
Hosted by the Arkansas Natural Sky Association* & Gilbert, a Community striving to light responsibly on the Buffalo National River - Arkansas's only designated Dark-Sky Park
(*Arkansas' affiliate of the International Dark-Sky Association) 

Festival Friends and Participants

"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."
-Virgil

Activities and Events

Observing Activities
Learning Activities
Playing Activities
  • Celestial Art Class

    Learn to draw celestial scenes Link to sign up to be added soon.

  • Observing Basics

    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.

  • 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

  • Birds, wildlife and much more.

    Event Guide will be posted soon.

  • 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 more: music, door prizes (by Explore Scientific), local arts and crafts...

"Time under the stars melds mind and soul, stirring one healing the other."
-Stella, the Night-Wise Owl (as all owls are you know)

Gilbert's Night Sky

Why a Dark-Sky Festival on the Buffalo?

  • When was the last time you laid under the Milky Way and counted shooting stars?

  • When have you looked upon a distant galaxy 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 as beautiful as the Buffalo is in the day so it is at night. Gilbert has among the darkest skies of any community in Arkansas. For the event, the observing site should present a 21.5 magnitude sky - as dark as most campgrounds in the park. 

Ardent - the State's largest "portable" telescope will be one of many instruments whose views will take you to the stars.

So, treat yourself to some star therapy, ponder your place in the universe, and experience local arts, crafts, and music - all set in one of the most beautiful places on earth. 

Down Load to Learn More:

"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."
-Carl Sagan

Local Services and Points of Interest

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. PS, most places will have just started their off-season rates. (Telescope Volunteers should sign up before reserving a plate to stay.)

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Places to Stay

Food & Beverage

Points of Interest & Special Services

AR's first Dark-Sky Festival (ARDSF-1) Volunteers

Have telescope, will travel?

Stella, the night-wise owl, needs a few - no - a lot of telescopes and a few other volunteers as well.  She will have a group campground and/or inexpensive indoor accommodation available for vaccinated telescope volunteers. If there is sufficient interest, special ARDSF-1 volunteer shirts will be made available as momentoes of the event at or near cost.  
Festival Volunteer Sign-up
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The Festival Store!

The festival is free, but there are a few things you'll need, such as a redlight flashlight. The keychain flashlights below are a ready answer for only $5.00 with a handy ANSA neck lanyard. Supplies are limited - no kidding - so reserve yours now to be safe. Add a copy of ANSA's Learn the Constellation guide and you will really be set.

You can get what you need below, or become an ANSA member and add additional items to complete your festival package. If you want to go in style, add a festival t-shirt and you will be all in. Oh, almost forgot, there's also a celestial art class. Check it out here.

Red-light Keychain Flashlight

The Basic Approach


Select the items you want below and pick them up at the event, or you can add the $2.50 shipping charge and we will mail your order to you now (ANSA members ship free - just add note to the order requesting it be shipped).
Shipping - only one shipping fee no matter what you order. Add the shipping to your cart here first so you don't forget. 
These redlight keychain flashlights produce 12 lumens of light. Plenty for dark-adapted eyes to read a chart or follow a path. The battery can be replaced, so useful to have even if you are not under the milky way, and with the ANSA lanyard easy to find.
Select How Many
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Select How Many
Written by ANSA's own Rocky Togni, an Astronomical League Master Observer, this booklet makes it easy to learn the constellations with its uncluttered charts depicting key seasonal asterisms that aid memory along with associated bright stars and deepsky objects.
Okay, no one needs a glow-in-the-dark constellation bandana, but for $10 some might like to have one anyway.
Select How Many
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Optional Membership Approach


Select the membership level you want and add as many light/lanyard sets as you need from above.  Shipping is free.

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.

Please click here to join our members-only Mobilize.io group once you have paid your membership dues

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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.

Please click here to join our members-only Mobilize.io group once you have paid your membership dues.

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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).

Please click here to join our members-only Mobilize.io group once you have paid your membership dues.

Select your joining gift

All in? - Get the T-Shirt!


Clink the Teespring icon below to order an official Festival t-shirt - available in long & short-sleeve, classic T, or Women's in blue or gray. Wear it before the event. When someone asks what the Festival was like, you can say, "Duno, got the t-shirt but haven't been there and done that yet. Join me, we will find out together." (Enjoy the short sleeve this summer, the long sleeve for the event. Volunteers should ask about special versions.)
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"I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars."
-Augustine 'Og' Mandino
"Scales - Gazing upon winter's lofty keep. Earth, sky, moon, stars, boundless deep. A vista of scales diverse lowly earth, universe. Hand outstretched, fingers wide myriad galaxies hide. Stardust caressing silent trees. Moon plays peek-a-boo in darkling clouds on silent breeze. Stars; shimmering beacons in frigid air. Dancing in vault of night most fair. Earth touches sky; sky embraces earth. Mundane frames fantastic in spiritual birth."
-John Reed
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