Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley presents the
Sangre Star Festival on June 19-20-21, 2020

Stay tuned for more info on pre-sale tickets, detailed schedule, and other exciting updates!

About the Sangre Star Festival

Celebrating five years as Colorado’s first certified Dark Sky Community, Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley is proud to present the inaugural Sangre Star Festival on June 19-20-21, 2020. Join us for a new moon Dark Sky Solstice Celebration. The Sangre Star Festival has been designed to appeal to not only amateur astronomers but also to casual stargazers and serious astro-seekers as well. We want to share the wonders of the night sky above us and the beauty of the valley before us. Get ready for an awesome astro-adventure where all roads lead to dark skies!

Here in the historic mountain towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, festival goers can experience the night sky and Milky Way in the same unspoiled way as our ancestors. Sitting at 7,888’ in the pristine Wet Mountain Valley of Colorado, we are the highest Dark Sky Community in the world, and thanks to community efforts to limit light pollution, the Milky Way can be seen from Main Street even with the lights on.

All net proceeds from the Sangre Star Festival will benefit the Dark Skies STEM Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships of $5,000 per year for four years to qualified applicants in Custer County seeking a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related university degree.

Recreational Activities available in the Wet Mountain Valley:

  • Morning hike on Rainbow Trail (easy) or to an alpine lake (moderate) or a mountain peak (strenuous)

  • Shopping and Art Galleries

  • Bowling and game arcade at Cliff Lanes

  • Horseback riding in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness

  • The Planet Walk & Inflatable Planetarium

  • Kid’s Space Tent

  • Alla Prima Plein Air

  • Pickleball Tournament

  • Cycling on miles of dirt roads

  • Shakespeare in the Sangres

  • Sunset Ranch Amish Wagon Rides

WHAT TO EXPECT

First and foremost, expect a slower pace in a peaceful place. No need to be in a rush, breath in the fresh mountain air. Enjoy the panoramic view of the Sangres and embrace the wilderness. Please respect our beautiful valley and do not litter our roads. Cell phone service will be spotty, consider it an opportunity to enjoy a digital detox while you are here. This is a small, rural, thriving town without a traffic light. We don’t have a Starbucks but we have many fine coffee shops to choose from. We have two local markets, a Dollar General and Family Dollar for supplies. We have a few restaurants, a bakery, a butcher, two ice cream shops, and will have food trucks available on The Bluff during the day until 6pm. There are three gas stations. We have many wonderful small local shops and art galleries that we hope you will visit while you are here. This is a family friendly event but please keep in mind, it’s a late night event too. Stargazing will begin after 9pm.

Expect to be outdoors most of the time. Be prepared with proper clothing in the mountains where the weather and wind are very unpredictable, layering is recommended.

Festival registration will take place on at Cliff Lanes where we encourage festival attendees to stay and play. When was the last time you were in a bowling alley with eight lanes and a game arcade? Bring good walking shoes to explore our local shops, art galleries and historic sites. Slow down to experience easy-going, laid back, warm Western hospitality.

On Summer Solstice Saturday, Festival satellite venues in town will provide education, entertainment, inspiration, gallery hopping, shopping and vendor opportunities with plenty of outdoor recreation activities throughout the day. Attendees will immerse themselves in the wonders of the Wet Mountain Valley and the Sangre de Cristo mountains. As the satellite venues in town hold between 40 to 100 people, attendees will chose the events they want to attend. Most festivities are all within a comfortable walking distance.

During the evening hours, Festival events will primarily take place at the Smokey Jack Observatory on The Bluff and Galaxy Central, aka our Festival hub located at A Painted View Ranch. The Galaxy Arena will host our Stellar Speakers, featuring amazing keynote presentations including SKYGLOW, The Galaxy Hitchhiker, The End of Night, and Galactic Images.

After the presentations in the Galaxy Central Arena, there will be a campfire that just may inspire sing-a-alongs and acoustic musical instruments to come out in the CYGNUS CANTINA. Attendees will find music and dancing in LYRA’S LOUNGE with beer and wine available for purchase in the HOUSE OF HERCULES (sponsored by Custer County Chamber of Commerce). The TELESCOPIUM TERRACE will be a large open space in a dark corner of the ranch to bring your own telescope or peer through the many scopes that will be set-up. XENIA’S HOSPITALITY DEN is exclusively for Dark Sky Defenders to enjoy refreshments in the Ranch House. And of course, there will be plenty of stargazing and astrophotography opportunities.

FESTIVAL GUIDELINES

When attending a star party, there are a few guidelines one should keep in mind out of respect and courtesy of others. These guidelines apply to the Star Party at the Smokey Jack Observatory and stargazing in the Telescopium Terrace. Merriment is fully expected at Galaxy Central.

  • Avoid use of white lights, use red lights sparingly. If for some reason you must use a white light, give fair warning to those around you.

  • Never touch anyone else's equipment without permission, but don't be afraid to ask. Never touch any glass optical surface.

  • Avoid loud and boisterous behavior. Astronomy is a quiet, peaceful activity.

  • Please don't litter. Keep our town beautiful and clean.

  • Drive slowly on the dirt roads so as to avoid kicking up dust into the atmosphere.

  • Children—If you bring children, they must always behave under your supervision.

  • Pets—If you bring your pet, must be on a leash at all times and under control.

  • Music—For the consideration of others, if you listen to your own music, please wear a headset.

  • Alcohol—If you consume alcohol please don't violate the unwritten "loud and boisterous" rule. Be aware that alcohol may adversely affect your night vision and body temperature.


WHAT TO BRING

In a small effort to be sustainable at Galaxy Central. Please bring the following personal items:

  • Refillable water bottle

  • Reusable coffee mug

  • Comfortable camp chair

  • Warm blanket, hat & gloves for late night stargazing

  • Red flashlight or headlamp

  • Musical acoustic instrument if you are so inclined


Stellar Speakers

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Harun Mehmedinovic: SKYGLOW

Harun Mehmedinovic is a regular video and photography contributor to BBC Earth, and has contributed photographs and videos to Vogue ItaliaNational GeographicAstronomy MagazineBBC TravelDiscovery Science, and Blindfold Magazine.Harun's work has been featured by various media outlets and has been a subject of a TEDx Talk. 

He is the author of three books including the astrophotography book and time lapse series: SKYGLOW. His videos have been used at various events, most notably by The Rolling Stones 2016 tour, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters 2016 Tour, Desert Trip Concert, Paul Simon's 2018 Farewell Tour, and Cosmic Gate music video "am2pm," and National Park Service’s “100 Years” centennial video; among others. Recently, Harun began work as a cinematographer on Ice on Fire, a Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary for HBO due for release, and provided visuals for Akicita, a documentary film which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2018.  

SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM is an ongoing quest to explore the effects and dangers of urban light pollution in contrast with some of the most incredible Dark Sky areas in North America. Brainchild of Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic, the book and time lapse video project is produced in collaboration with International Dark-Sky Association (darksky.org)

Dr. Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj: The Galaxy Hitchhiker

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Ulyana N. Horodyskyj was one of 120 semifinalists out of 18,354 applicants for NASA’s 2017 astronaut class. She completed her Ph.D. in geological and Earth sciences/geosciences and in October 2015 graduated from Project PoSSUM. In September/October 2016, Ulyana was chosen as mission commander for the NASA Johnson Space Center’s HERA XII (Human Exploration Research Analog), a 30-day isolation experiment, simulating a long-duration mission to an asteroid.

In addition to this, she is the founder of Science in the Wild, an adventure citizen science company that specializes in getting people out on extraordinary experiences around the world. She has led expeditions to the Himalayas, Andes, Canadian Arctic, and Tanzania (Kilimanjaro), and has hiked 42 peaks and high points. Ulyana was named one of the “world’s most adventurous women” by Men’s Journal in January 2019.

At six years old, Ulyana saw her first mountains—the Swiss Alps—and was hooked. In elementary and high school, she was crafting science fair projects and competing at the national and international levels. At 13, she completed a science fair project on space travel using solar sails instead of fuel, which earned her enough scholarship funding to attend college. She meshed her interests in the outdoors and science as a geology major at Rice University in Houston, Texas. By age 23, she had traveled to and worked on all seven continents.

As a female, she has encountered many professional and personal challenges and has overcome them to earn her Ph.D and found her own science education company. We need girls and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) now more than ever!

This inspiring program will be open to all Custer County students and their parents for free for children to hear about bright possibilities in their future.

What she says: “I’m excited to be a part of this new frontier in space—with women and men working alongside each other, as professionals and citizen scientists, taking those next big steps—for all of humankind.”

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Paul Bogard: The End of Night

Paul Bogard is the author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light. Paul traveled the globe to find the night, blending personal narrative, natural history, health, science, and folklore to shed light on darkness. Showing exactly what we've lost, what we have left, and what we might hope to regain, he attempts nothing less than a restoration of how we see the spectacularly primal, wildly dark night sky.

Paul is editor of the anthology Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark, a collection of essays by twenty-eight writers on the value of darkness and the costs of light pollution. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, Los Angeles Times, Outside, Audubon, Conservation, Reader's Digest, National Geographic, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere.

A native Minnesotan, Paul grew up exploring the forest and watching the stars near a lake in the northern part of the state. He has lived and taught in New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, and is now associate professor of English at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he teaches creative nonfiction and environmental literature.  

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John Chumack: Galactic Images 

Astro-Photography is the art of photographing or imaging objects in deep space, a very unique form of photographic art that requires an extreme amount of patience, time and lots of practice to master. John is an an author and experienced master of out-of-this-world imagery.

Galactic Images is an international Astro-photography fine art business. In 1989 John began systematically photographing the night sky with his homemade telescopes. After two short years he found his artwork to be in high demand, which prompted the creation of "Galactic Images" in 1992. He travels around the country selling his astro-photographs at fine art shows and numerous galleries & Museum Exhibitions, participating in approximately 20 shows a year aside from his normal day job at The University of Dayton’s Research Institute. His work is sold in 35 foreign countries around the world. Over 1200 of his images have been published in many science & astronomy books, software, Science Television Programs, and major magazines including National Geographic, front cover of Time, Science, Discover, Newsweek, Astronomy and Sky & Telescope, etc. NASA also publishes John's images regularly via NASA's websites APOD & EPOD. 


Solstice Saturday Workshops

ASTRONOMY

Presentations hosted by Peter K. Detterline and Gary A. Becker. Location of community hall and times pending. Holds up to 200 people.

PETER K. DETTERLINE is an avid astronomer whose interests cover a wide range of the astronomical spectrum.  For thirty-five years he was the Director of the Boyertown Planetarium, where he gave programs to over half a million people. This past year he won the Thomas Brennan award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for exceptional achievement related to teaching high school astronomy. He currently teaches at Montgomery County Community College.  In research he has coauthored numerous papers on eclipsing binaries and contributes data to various organizations.  He is the Observatory Director for the Mars Society where he heads up an Astronomy Team providing a solar and a robotic telescope for their members at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.  The robotic telescope is also used remotely by students around the world.

Peter was selected to be part of the “Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program,” where he visited the largest American observatories in that country.  As an amateur astronomer he has traveled the globe to view solar eclipses, built his own observatory, and has completed many observing programs including the Astronomical League’s “Master Observer”.

When he’s not staring at the heavens, Peter is preaching about them as a commissioned minister for the United Church of Christ, and fills in for various churches as needed.  Astronomy for him is a deeply enriching experience that connects the heavens to the Earth.

GARY A. BECKER has had a lifelong passion for astronomy, photography and sky watching. As director for 38 years of the award-winning Allentown (PA) School District Planetarium, and currently, Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, Gary has taught astronomy from the preschool to the graduate level under the electronic as well as the natural sky. https://astronomy.org/

An ardent traveler, Gary has hosted tours to observe and photograph comets and eclipses and has taken urban students to the Southwest to view the heavens from some of the darkest locales in the United States.  He and his pupils volunteered as Night Sky Interpreters at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NM and Bryce Canyon National Park, UT between 1999 and 2006.  In 2012, he joined the Astronomy Team of the Mars Society where he helps to maintain and enhance the Elon Musk (Solar) Observatory and the MDRS Robotic Observatory at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah, the latter which supports the astronomy program at Moravian College.

Gary A. Becker’s half-century of amateur and professional interests in astronomy have provided him with a unique perspective for writing and teaching.  He has authored the book that his Moravian astronomy students use, edited the national newsletter of the Astronomical League, The Reflector, founded (1996) and continues to maintain as an educational outreach the very visual website astronomy.org, and has for nearly a quarter century written a homespun, informative weekly column called StarWatch which is distributed to the Moravian community and appears in 25 newspapers nationwide. 

  • The Moon—Not a Place to Raise Kids: Baked during the day, frozen at night, the airless and nearly waterless moon’s 4.5-billion-year history is filled with periods of catastrophic meteoritic bombardments, lunar wide epochs of volcanism, then billions of years of relative quiescence. Because the moon at present changes so slowly, its history is preserved in the landscape of its surface features that we observe today. Join Peter Detterline and Gary Becker on a voyage of discovery across Luna’s “seas” and highlands to unravel the geologic history of our nearest neighbor in space.

  • Constellations—A Beer Might Help You See Them Better:  Your presenters, Gary Becker and Peter Detterline, have spent their professional careers helping students become familiar with the night sky through their planetarium programming. Being able to identify constellations has been a part of that experience. Although there are some star patterns that are seen by virtually everyone, others—well, might be open to interpretation. Pete and Gary will focus on mainly seasonal patterns with some having an interpretation unique to the presenter. Don’t be surprised if a good-natured “fight” breaks out on stage. They are passionate about their pictures.

  • Planets—Wanderers of the Night: NASA orbiters and flyby missions have imaged all of them, but Peter Detterline and Gary Becker will only highlight the best photography taken of these objects, including a picture now and then of a planetary moon, comet, dwarf planet, and asteroid.  By program’s end you’ll have a better “picture” of the diversity and the similarities among members of the inner and outer solar system family. At midnight some of the telescopes of the Sangre Star Festival will surely be turned toward Jupiter and Saturn, which will be peeking like twins over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, followed by Mars at 2:30 a.m., and Venus by dawn.  Sleep may be a thing of the past.

  • Deep Sky for a Dark Sangre Night: There’s a party in the sky, celebrated by a cornucopia of different objects that are best seen under a crisp Sangre evening. BYOT—bring your own telescope (and or binoculars) or view through a scope hosted by a member of the Sangre Star Festival.  At the end of twilight, the Milky Way, our home galaxy, will be straddling the eastern sky like a cotton candy cloud.  In it are clusters of stars, both big and small, double and multiple star systems, regions where luminaries are being born and others that are taking their last gasp of “breath.”  Gary Becker and Peter Detterline will provide the pre-celebratory activities to help participants appreciate how these objects fit into the big picture, as well as observing tips when you view through the eyepiece of a scope later during the evening. Our talk is just the beginning.  Seeing these celestial gems properly through a telescope is the real deal.

ASTRO-PHOTOGRAPHY

Presentations presented at Cliff Lanes from 10AM TO 5PM. Community Room holds up to 80 people theater style.

10AM / SKY PANORAMIX: https://www.skypanoramix.com/ Chris Scherpenseel “Scherp” was born and raised in Colorado so was spoiled growing up with good weather and great scenery. At the age of 14 he traveled to New Zealand to live with his father outside of America. Seeing the natural beauty of another country sparked his interest in travel and photography. By day a financial consultant and by night a photographer. Scherp has always loved beautiful landscapes and night skies. Often peering through his telescope and wondering about the stars. While attending college, he struggled through traditional methods to photograph and develop film. Definitely nothing worth printing. Today he uses digital photography to tell stories. Sights that many people may never experience other than through his images. His work is dedicated to inspire others to enjoy life to the fullest through photography and personal adventure.

12 NOON / BACKYARD ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY: https://www.garylopezphotography.com/ Gary Lopez, Ph.D. is a film maker, software developer and entrepreneur. His media company, Archipelago (acquired by Harcourt Brace Publishing), created multimedia learning software that was adopted by high schools and colleges nationwide, and used by millions of students. He has written and produced more than 100 documentary films, including television programs (both series and specials) for Jacques Cousteau and his son, Jean-Michel Cousteau. His documentaries have been broadcast nationally in the United States, distributed throughout Europe and Asia, and have received numerous awards. In 2006, President George W. Bush cited one of Gary’s documentaries, Voyage to Kure, as his inspiration for his designation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Island National Monument, one of the largest protected areas in the world. Gary is currently the CEO of the NROC Project (www.nroc.org), a national non-profit education foundation he founded in 2003 that is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and uses cutting-edge software technology to serve millions of student nationwide.

Gary is also an amateur astrophotographer, shooting his first image with a mail-order telescope and a camera fashioned from a shoe box when he was twelve years old. His passion for space photography has continued through the years and his recent deep-sky imagery explores the artistic boundaries allowed by the newest camera, filter, and software technology. He was recently named a Top 100 Trending Astrophotographer by AstroBin, the largest amateur astrophotography community in the world with more than 750,000 users from 220 countries.

2PM / NATURE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHY: Jason Hatfield https://jasonjhatfield.com/ is a freelance action, travel, and nature photographer based out of Crested Butte, Colorado. “Some of the beautiful places shown in my work, no longer exist as seen due to human impact, overuse and destruction. Much of that impact is the result of the surging photographic and outdoor community. Please join me in pledging Nature First to help conserve the places we love and photograph through wise use, education, outreach, community and research. Join the movement at https://www.naturefirstphotography.org/ Nature First is built on seven core principles that help communicate how each of us can enjoy nature photography responsibly. The Seven Principles of Nature First Photography were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations.”

4PM / ASTRO-PHOTOGRAPHY Lars Leber https://larsleber.com/ was born and raised in Germany. Since moving to Colorado Springs, he has spent a lot of time in the outdoors to pursue hiking, backpacking and fishing. Lars is extremely passionate about photography and always comes up with new exciting Colorado landscape photographs. Instead of writing a few paragraphs about “the essence of the landscape,” “my wholesome connection with the environment,” ”glorious inner visions,” and whatever other fancy words many photographers use we will keep this simple. Lars just wants to “take interesting photos.” Winner of the Gazette’s “Best of the Springs” Fine Art Photography Award in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019!


Festivities

Planet Walk: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 19-20-21

Sponsored by Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley

DETAILS PENDING.

Star Trek Game: Friday & Saturday, June 19-20

Sponsored by Sangres Art Guild

Build your team. Follow the stars. Find the art. Collect the stickers. Win stellar prizes. DETAILS PENDING.

Local Astro-Archaeological Site Visit: Saturday, June 20

Small groups of Festival attendees are invited to experience the site during the summer solstice.

Bear Basin Ranch, about 11 miles east of Silver Cliff and Westcliffe, is the site of an astronomically aligned solstice viewing platform that pre-dates European ventures into the area. Possibly put in place by Ute tribal people, and marked by shaped trees and rock circles, the hilltop site is easily accessible by foot on the Bear Basin Ranch property. Gary Ziegler, professional archeologist with extensive exploration, research and publications and his partner, Amy Finger, are inviting small groups of Festival attendees to experience the site during the summer solstice. They will be on a Chilean expedition at the time and have authorized local residents Wayne Ewing, Ph.D. and Deanne Montgomery, SJO docent, to guide the site tours.

The first group of 10 people will be transported from The Bluff Park by Rotary van at 4:45am on Saturday, June 20, in order to view sunrise from the site as native people would have done centuries ago. Two additional groups of 10 will leave The Bluff at designated times to be arranged for a walking tour of the site. The sunrise group will need layered clothing to ward off the morning chill (elevation is about 8700’) and all groups will need personal, non-plastic water supplies. There will be an additional fee for this solstice experience with proceeds going to the STEM Scholarship Fund.

LIVE MUSIC: Saturday, June 20

Musical Groups at All Aboard Westcliffe & In Concert at Hermit Pavilion

PERFORMANCES ARE PENDING. Both music venues hold about 100 people.

Women in Astronomy: Saturday, June 20

The Women’s Story Project

A theatrical readers theater through the use of scene portrayals, monologue, poetry, and song, engaging the audience in heart-warming, amusing, and informational stories, that highlight the lives of women today and the past who have contributed to astronomy and space technology.

Pancake Breakfast: Sunday, June 21

Wet Mountain Valley Rotary Club

A Rotary Pancake Breakfast will be on Sunday morning from 8am to 11am at A Painted View. This is a major fundraiser for the student scholarships, so please have Sunday breakfast at Galaxy Central to support the kids and enjoy pancakes and sausage. 100% of the proceeds go to local student scholarships.

Alla Prima Westcliffe: June 13-21

Sangres Art Guild 14th Annual Plein Aire Paint Out

Treat yourself to a week of delightful summer days painting in the picturesque Wet Mountain Valley. Sweeping scenic views of the magnificent Sangre de Cristo mountains, intimate outdoor scenes, historic architecture and special events await your creativity. This paint-from-life event includes alla prima painting created from life in the manner of plein air, but not necessarily done outdoors. Subject matter embraces landscapes, ranch life, figurative and still life. There will also be a Dark Skies nocturne competition. All paintings are created from life during the event, which culminates in an opening reception, exhibition and sale on Saturday, June 20. The exhibit continues through July. Alla Prima Westcliffe starts the week before the Sangre Star Festival and will wrap up the same day on Sunday, June 21.

Shakespeare in the Sangres: June 12-July 5

Westcliffe Center for the Performing Arts presents a play each evening in the beautiful amphitheater behind the Jones Theater in Westcliffe. Experience these Shakespeare productions in a repertory theater setting. Guests are encouraged to arrive early, bring blankets and/or chairs and enjoy a picnic on the lawn.


Location/Lodging

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The evening epicenter of the Sangre Star Festival, aka “Galaxy Central,” is based at A Painted View Ranch, just 3 miles west of the town of Westcliffe, nestled in one of the state’s most beautiful and unspoiled areas, the Wet Mountain Valley. Boasting 160 acres, A Painted View Ranch has ample space for evening Festival events, including a large arena for keynote Stellar Speakers, plenty of space for RV and trailer camping and room for public parking.

During the day, all Festival events and activities will take place at various satellite venues located in town, most within walking distance. Shuttle buses and vans will be available to transport attendees back and forth from The Bluff to A Painted View.

LODGING

Advanced reservations are highly recommended as local accommodations are limited. Visit Custer County has a comprehensive list of lodging options, including AirBnBs, Camping, Inns and Motels in the county.

CAMPING

Limited RV and trailer camping spaces are available at A Painted View Ranch and will be offered along with ticket sales as part of the Festival Gateway process. There are 36 RV plug-in sites and 100 dry camping sites for RVs and trailers, (sorry, no tents) at A Painted View, where most evening activities will take place. Additional camping sites, including tent camping, will be available in town near The Bluff, close to day time festivities and the Smokey Jack Observatory. Port-a-Johns will be conveniently located along with central water access.

Campers will be assigned sites on a first come, first serve basis, although it is recommended to prepay for your campsite when purchasing your festival tickets online. Pre-paying guarantees you a campsite if you pay in advance when purchasing a Festival ticket. Camping sites open at noon on Festival Friday. The camping rates are for a two night stay on Friday and Saturday. If you want to reserve a site to arrive on Thursday or leave on Monday, it is possible for an additional fee. All campers must leave the campgrounds no later than Monday at 11am.

GETTING AROUND

We are encouraging attendees to park their vehicles for the weekend and take advantage of festival transportation to keep our roads clear, quiet and not churn up the dust. Bus and van shuttles will be available during the three day event to transport Festival attendees between The Bluff and A Painted View. If you are into cycling, it’s an easy valley floor road between the two locations. The road is paved except for the last half mile at the ranch. Main roads are paved but most roads in Custer County are dirt. Please drive slowly on the dirt roads so as to avoid kicking up dust that gets into the atmosphere.


Gateway Ticketing

Public ticket sales will available online on the Winter Solstice, December 21, 2019. The festival is being limited to 500 tickets. If you are interested in obtaining a ticket for yourself or as a great holiday gift for someone, please be sure to sign up on our email list at the bottom of this page to stay up-to-date with Festival/Dark Skies news and to receive an exclusive early access ticket link on 12/12 BEFORE tickets are opened to the public! And if you would like to a guarantee a ticket right now, before the advanced ticket sales, you can purchase an individual Dark Sky Defender sponsorship ticket, see below, by contacting Debbie Adams at festival@darkskiescolorado.org

No refunds will be given once ticket is purchased. If you are unable to attend, your festival fee will be a donation to the Dark Skies STEM Scholarship Fund.

$30 ~ STAR SEEKER
Individual Gateway with access to live music, workshops, festivities in town, on The Bluff, Smokey Jack Observatory, and at Galaxy Central/A Painted View Ranch.

$50 ~ GLOBULAR STAR CLUSTER
Limited Family Gateway, tickets for 2 adults and children under 18 with access to festivities in town, at The Bluff Park, Smokey Jack Observatory, and at Galaxy Central/A Painted View Ranch.

$100 ~ OPEN STAR CLUSTER
Expanded Family Gateway, tickets for 2 adults and children under 18 with access to live music performances, workshops, festivities in town, at The Bluff Park, Smokey Jack Observatory, and at Galaxy Central/A Painted View Ranch.

$250 ~ DARK SKY DEFENDER
AVAILABLE NOW! This special, individual sponsorship is the only way to guarantee a ticket before individual public ticket sales are made available.

A stellar three day, elevated festival experience including deluxe-edition souvenir tee shirt, reserved prime seating for programs in the Galaxy Central Arena, exclusive entry into Xenia’s Hospitality Den, Sunday night celebration dinner with our Stellar Speakers and all Festival activities. Please contact Debbie Adams at festival@darkskiescolorado.org to become a Dark Sky Defender! If you enjoy a party, this is the best way to experience this stellar event.

$30-$60 2-Night FESTIVAL CAMPING
Limited camping at A Painted View for Friday & Saturday (2 night reservation) including 36 RV plug-in sites for $60 and camping area for 100 trailers (no tents) for $40. Camping areas are available in town for two night rate of $30 near The Bluff, tents allowed. Port-a-Johns will be conveniently located along with central water access. Reservations for any accommodation are highly recommended as there are limited campgrounds, town motels and county Airbnb/VRBOs in rural Westcliffe & Silver Cliff. Additional camping nights may be booked on Thursday and Sunday night for an additional fee. See Visit Custer County for a listing of local lodging options. 



Our gratitude to these Bright Shining Stars: SIRIUS - Donna Hood, A Painted View | VEGA - Cathy Snow - Dark Skies, Inc. - Dark Sky Vacations - Sunset Ranch Wagon Rides | RIGEL - Greenstone Artworks - Carol & Jim Crowley

We are still seeking Bright Stars to provide financial strength and company presence to support the first ever Sangre Star Festival in the Wet Mountain Valley of Westcliffe, CO. With astro-tourism being a top travel trend, we expect to be at full capacity. All net proceeds of the Festival will benefit the Dark Skies STEM Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships of $5,000 per year for four years to qualified applicants seeking a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related university degree. Sponsorship tiers range from $250-$5000, each of which includes different bundles of VIP extras, private dinner with our Stellar Speakers, workshop co-branding, advertising, Festival Gateway entries and more.

If you would like more details to come aboard the Star Festival Endeavor and be part of this exciting sponsorship opportunity, download our Bright Star Sponsorship sign-up forms or contact Debbie Adams via festival@darkskiescolorado.org for more information. Please be sure to sign up by APRIL 20, 2020 to guarantee inclusion in all Festival publications, press, and marketing. We greatly appreciate your consideration and generosity to be a Bright Star in the Sangre Star Festival!