From October 13 to 29, the town of Jasper will sparkle with non-stop dark sky events. From symphonies under the stars to planetarium shows to astrophotography workshops, the Jasper Dark Sky Festival celebrates the art, science and culture surrounding the night sky.
Here’s some of the top must-do events to add to your schedule.
October 14 / 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm / $100+
VENUE – Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Cozy up with a blanket and hot chocolate and witness the magic of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Strings, amplified by the Rocky Mountains, under thousands of twinkling stars.
October 21 / 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm / FREE
VENUE – Lake Annette
There is no better way to welcome the dark sky than to celebrate pahkisimon, Cree for sunset. This starts just before sunset with a ceremonial tipi raising followed by teachings, hand-drumming and song by Warrior Women, community pow wow drumming open for anyone to participate in. As the sun sets, illuminated Indigenous hoop, traditional and shawl dancers will help us welcome in the starry night. Once the celebration has wrapped up, feel free to stay at Lake Annette to enjoy some of the best star-gazing in the area or head back into the Jasper townsite to take in the evening programs around town.
October 21 / 8:45 pm – 9:00 pm / FREE
VENUE – Commemoration Park (1324 Pyramid Lake Rd)
Tourism Jasper presents a one-of-a-kind event in the night sky! Witness an inspiring creation of drone choreography set to an original song titled “Cascade” arranged by our very own Dark Sky band, played live under the dark sky!
Arrive at 7:30 to catch Jay Ingram and the Dark Sky Band hit the stage with a new show! Music, images and narration tell the story of our future. Will we be silicon/cytoplasm hybrids? Where will we live? For that matter, will we live forever? Or is it all just a giant game of The Sims?
Recreational drone use is not permitted within National Park boundaries. Occasionally, Parks Canada will grant permits for park management purposes. This one-of-a-kind light show meets Jasper National Park’s management priorities by providing a meaningful experience to hundreds of visitors and residents alike. Leave your drone at home: using recreational drones in national parks is dangerous and illegal, carrying a maximum fine of $25,000.
Most Saturdays in September, every Friday & Saturday in October / 5:45 pm – 10:30 pm / $186.45 +GST
VENUE – Jasper SkyTram, Whistlers Rd
Get even closer to the stars with this exclusive dining and stargazing experience atop the Jasper Skytram. Includes a 3-course mountain-top dinner, the most powerful telescopes in the Canadian Rockies, a special talk on Canada’s dark skies. Bring warm layers for the outdoor star gazing portions of the evening.
SCIENCE FOR BRUNCH/LUNCH, FEATURING MATTHEW GUZDIAL, JEANINE HOLOWATUIK, MARLOS MACHADO, PATRICK PILARSKI
Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22 / 10:00 am – 12:00 pm or 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm / $40
VENUE – Lobstick Lodge
Kickstart your morning with a healthy dose of awe by chatting with celestial celebrities over a hot buffet brunch or lunch. On October 14 catch astro-photographer Jeanine Holowatuik talk about her aurora chasing adventures. The next day Marlos Machado will discuss flying balloons in the stratosphere with AI. The following weekend Patrick Pilarski and Matthew Guzdial will tackle how to train bionic body parts and procedural worlds through AI.
Oct. 28 / 7:00pm -1:00am / $40
VENUE - Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Ballroom
Finish the festival with a night of sidesplitting fun! Pack away the telescopes, unbutton your lab coats, and put on your best sci-fi-inspired costume for the brand-new Jasper Dark Sky Festival Space Ball! Hosted in the dramatic ballroom at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the night kicks off with appetizers and drinks at the reception. Local professional actors will hit the stage with some thematic improv, before you sit back and disappear a bucket of popcorn while watching classic comedy Space Balls on the big screen (with a few interactive twists). Finally, grab a "midnight lunch" and dance the night away. This is an 18+ event, ID's will be checked at the door.
Join many illustrious experts for in-depth discussions about science and space. These dynamic speakers include:
• Award-winning spaceflight author Emily Carney
• Bettymara Foott from the International Dark Sky Association
• Astrophotographer Mike Gere
• Trivia nights with Alan Nursall, former CEO of Telus World of Science-Edmonton