Loading Events

« All Events

2023 Upper Peninsula Dark Sky Festival

April 21 - April 22

[ Purchase Tickets ]

The Keweenaw Dark Sky Park is hosting its first annual event during International Dark Sky Week. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) encourages people worldwide to discover the night during International Dark Sky Week. This annual week-long event aims to raise awareness about the negative impacts of light pollution, the solutions that exist and simultaneously celebrate the night.

The 2023 event will be held over April 21st and 22nd, and provides two days of learning. Events and workshops will be hosted at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, headquarters for the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park.

The event is intended for all ages of dark sky enthusiasts. The evening event on Friday allows guests to check into their accommodations, have a meal and then take in the workshop. Saturday’s events in the afternoon allow guests to have a morning adventure and an afternoon and evening of learning. Below is the full schedule.


The schedule for the festival is as follows:

  • Friday, April 21: 5:00pm – Meet and Greet
  • Friday, April 21: 6:00pm – Evolution of the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park by John Mueller
  • Friday, April 21: 8:45pm – Stargazing on Snowshoes Lead by KML OAC Team
  • Saturday, April 22: 12:30pm – Rustic and Worldly Lunch (included in your festival ticket purchase)
  • Saturday, April 22: 2:00pm – Chasing the Northern Lights in Michigan by Melissa Kaelin
  • Saturday, April 22: 4:00pm – The Story Behind the Images by MaryBeth Kiczenski
  • Saturday, April 22: 8:00pm – Stargazing: Northern Lights Photography Workshop by Nate Bett

As we get closer to the date, we will confirm this schedule.


The festival will be held at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, the headquarters of the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park.

Keweenaw Mountain Lodge
14252 US Hwy 41
Copper Harbor, Michigan 49918


Tickets for the festival are $125 / person. Tickets include admission to all presentations and the lunch on Saturday.

[ Purchase Tickets ]

Presentation and Activity Descriptions, with Speaker Bios


Title: The Evolution of the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park

In 2022, the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge was officially certified by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) as an International Dark Sky Park. The Lodge works to have its property and the Keweenaw be dark-sky friendly. The certification process that we went through with the IDA has helped the Lodge team understand. We continue to learn and improve on how to foster the dark skies. In this talk, John will walk through that evolution process of the dark sky park, the learning gained from working with the IDA and the IDA Advocate community, and the opportunities and future plans in the Keweenaw because of the dark sky park designation.


About John Mueller

John is the chief lead at the Lodge, and is heavily involved with the staff as it relates to operations and strategy of the resort.  He led the application process for the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park, and is closely involved with and knowledgeable of the dark sky park.

Previously, John was a professor at St. Edwards University, focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship (entrepreneurial finance). Before his time at St. Edward’s, he was a faculty member at Fresno State and Western Michigan University. He finished his PhD in Entrepreneurship at the University of Louisville. He is a native of Austin, Texas, and has lived in many cool places around the world.

John has started several companies, and worked as an employee in others. He is the founder of Keweenaw Resort, LLC, which owns the Lodge.


Title: Stargazing on Snowshoes

Join the KML Outdoor Activity Center (OAC) team for a guided night time interpretive snowshoe hike. We will explore parts of the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park on foot.

The snowshoe hikes will go off regardless of the weather so be prepared for changing conditions. Recommended Items to bring: warm, layered clothing, night lights, snow shoes, poles, goggles and an adventurous attitude.

Bring your own snowshoes, or rent them from the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge’s Outdoor Activity Center.

Important Note: During this time of year, the weather conditions vary from a large amount of snow on the ground to no snow on the ground. So the snowshoe could turn into a hike with hiking boots.


Title: Chasing the Northern Lights in Michigan

Find out what it takes to view the Northern Lights with the unaided eye in Michigan! Get the tools, advice and maps that will help you catch stunning displays of Aurora, whether you’re searching for dark skies, good viewing locations, or strong geomagnetic storms.

About Melissa Kaelin

A lifelong nature enthusiast, Melissa F. Kaelin is an Aurora Chaser, writer and community leader. She founded the Michigan Aurora Chasers and co-founded the annual Aurora Summit, an international conference celebrating the art, culture, science and photography of the Aurora Borealis. As a NASA Social Media Ambassador, she covered the 2020 launch of the Solar Orbiter, which builds upon the science of the Parker Solar Probe to study and understand our Sun. She has written about rare natural phenomena for many publications, and in 2022, she published the book “Below the 45th Parallel: The Beginner’s Guide to Chasing the Aurora in the Great Lakes Region.”


Title: The Story Behind The Images

Coming soon.

About MaryBeth Kiczenski

Marybeth Kiczenski is a Great Lakes based adventurer and photographer of all things that inspire her. Whether that is cars, animals, the northern lights, or the sky – its all fair game! However, she is a *little* biased towards the night sky and all its glory. She is most known as Shelby Diamondstar, her image Michigan Night Watch was picked as one of the top 25 best aurora images captured around the world by Capture the Atlas in 2022. 


Title: Stargazing: Northern Lights Photography Workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to educate people on how to capture the beauty of the northern lights and the night sky on camera. Topics being covered include equipment needed, camera settings, and the best locations for viewing. These workshops will start out with a brief presentation (in the conference room), and then we will go outside for hands-on experience — taking pictures of the night time sky (hopefully northern lights) around the Lodge property (weather depending). With the information garnered from the workshop, it will make stargazing more enjoyable.

About Nate Bett

Nate Bett is a photographer and educator in Hancock Michigan. Although originally from Marquette, Michigan, Nathan recently relocated to Hancock from New York City, where he taught at the City University Of New York, and represented a major camera manufacturer as a technical specialist in photography. He now spends his time indulging in the over abundance of natural beauty in his native UP and spending excesses of time outdoors with his family. Nate maintains a passion for photography and the outdoors that he delights in sharing with students. His work can be viewed at nathanbett.com and @natebett and @artmonstermedia on Instagram.



The dark sky park is in a remote area, so it is important for you to plan where you are going to stay before traveling. The following options are available for lodging in the area:



The dark sky park is in a remote area, so it is important for you to plan where you are going to eat before traveling. The following options are available for food in the area:


[ Purchase Tickets ]


April 21
April 22
Event Categories:


KML Outdoor Activities Center
14252 US HWY 41
Copper Harbor, MI 49918 United States
+ Google Map

Last modified on March 15th, 2023 at 1:32 pm