They say good things come in threes, which explains the trio of jam-packed, star-studded, can’t-miss-it festival weekends that make up this year’s Jasper Dark Sky Festival. The celestial celebration runs from October 13 to 29, spanning three weekends.
If you're a fan of all things astro or simply looking for a weekend of unforgettable experiences in the world’s largest accessible dark sky preserve, mark your calendar for the third and final weekend of the festival. Then get busy filling your itinerary with everything from thrilling helicopter rides to the totally unique and brand-new Space Ball event.
What’s a Space Ball you ask? It’s the first of five reasons you must check out Jasper during the last weekend in October.
1. Jasper Dark Sky Space Ball: A Cosmic Costume Dance Party
On the night of Saturday, October 28, we invite you to 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 from the Jasper Theater Company 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 that’ll have you rolling). Finally, grab a "midnight lunch" and dance the night away while DJ Lucy da First spins tunes and circus performers from Cirque Aurora perform in the air. If you’re 18+, this is one highlight event you do not want to miss.
2. Starry Adventures
The Space Ball isn't the only reason to attend the third weekend of the Jasper Dark Sky Festival. The event schedule is packed with after-dark adventures that will leave you inspired and awestruck. Here are just a few of the exciting activities you can look forward to:
- Jasper SkyTram Star Sessions: Take a ride on the Jasper SkyTram and get closer to the stars. These special stargazing sessions at the top of Whistler's Mountain are available on Friday and Saturday nights through October and include a dinner option at the Summit Cafe.
- Yoga Under the Stars: Find your zen under the dark, starry sky. Yoga enthusiasts will love this unique opportunity to practice yoga in a setting that truly will make you feel connected to the universe.
- Beyond the Horizon: A Journey Into the Dark Sky Preserve: Join the most experienced star guides in Jasper at Lake Edith and Lake Annette. These telescope tours are limited to 20 people and include in-depth talks about the origins of stars and great conversations about space. Great for both beginners and enthusiasts.
- Miette Ghost Town and Galaxies: Historic frights, starry sights and barbecue bites await at this special Thursday event! Dig into a barbecue dinner with themed hot or cold drinks at the trailhead near Miette Mountain Cabins (about a half hour drive from town) and embark on a guided Halloween hike past Jasper’s abandoned coal mine ruins. Your eerie evening concludes with a Jasper Planetarium telescope stargazing session and dessert at the clearing.
3. Family Fun
Coming with little astronauts? There’s plenty to keep kids entertained all the way to bedtime (and maybe even a bit later... the Jasper Dark Sky Festival only comes once per year after all).
- Bio Blitz: Join scientists and naturalists to explore the biodiversity of Jasper National Park. This hands-on experience allows you to discover the park's hidden treasures.
- Animals of the Night Hike: Explore the nocturnal world of Jasper National Park as you embark on a guided hike to discover the creatures that come to life after dark.
- Geocaching/Dark Sky Treasure Hunt: Combine the thrill of treasure hunting with the beauty of the night sky in this exciting geocaching adventure.
4. Solar wonders
Just because we’ve got dark in the name doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of daytime things to do! Check out these afternoon and pre-sunset activities:
- Sunset Helicopter Cruise in the Rockies: Get a bird's-eye view of the stunning Rocky Mountains at sunset. This helicopter tour offers breathtaking vistas of the natural beauty that surrounds Jasper. Super romantic, super unforgettable.
- Solar/Early-evening scopes: Looking at live (and safely filtered) views of the surface of the sun and other daytime sights such as the Moon or Venus, if they’re out.
- Cosmos and Cocktails: Stir up a galaxy-inspired cocktail to enjoy while you design an intergalactic dried floral arrangement in a gorgeous spotted Nebula glass.
5. Events under the dome
The Jasper Planetarium is a year-round attraction that shines a spotlight on our special skies. More than a dome theatre, it’s also a nexus for astro-expertise and unique events.
- Planetarium Dome Theatre Experience: Immerse yourself in a state-of-the-art planetarium dome, where you'll journey through the cosmos and learn about the mysteries of the universe.
- Music of the Night: Join harpist Morgan McKinney inside the Jasper Planetarium dome theatre for LIVE music selections from a variety of genres including classical, folk, and Celtic while you’re surrounded by 360 visuals of Jasper by day, night, and the universe beyond.
- Planetarium Dark Sky Package: Join astronomy experts from The Jasper Planetarium for an out-of-this-world Rocky Mountain evening experience. Enjoy everything in our COMBO tour plus our constellation & binocular tour experience!