Starlight Festival

Dates: Saturday-Sunday, May 26-27, 2018
Location: Yerkes Observatory on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Hours: 10A-11P daily
Attendance: 7,500+
Demographics: Higher income Gen X families; college and post college


A wildly popular annual science and tech family festival that originated in California has found a permanent home on the 77 acre grounds of the world-famous Yerkes Observatory on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

During Memorial Day weekend, 7,500 people from all over the region are expected at this two -day "STEM" event (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). It's an outdoor family festival designed to wow entire families- from very young children to grandparents. The event’s purpose is two-fold: to wow and amaze and at the same time to promote and advance science and technology awareness among students (K-12), their parents and teachers.

More than forty-five science and technology exhibitors from all over the country participate. Each one offers an interactive STEM related activity- something that will captivate and amaze. The idea is that each visitor engages with and spends significant time at each and every booth- and this includes not only the science and tech exhibitors but the sponsors and other vendors as well. Learning while having fun is the general idea.

The Speakers Tent is one of the events’ most unique components. More than ten Presenters over two days will give lively, entertaining illustrated talks and demonstrations on popular topics under a giant tent with seating for 300. Experts will be chosen from NASA, major universities including The University of Chicago, research organizations such as FermiLab and the Argonne National Laboratory in the Chicago, IL area, technology companies, and the Adler Planetarium.

Starlight FestivalEvening attendees will have opportunities to view the night sky with portable telescopes on the Observatory grounds, and, for a nominal fee, with the Yerkes 40-inch Great Refractor and the 24-inch reflector telescopes.

Other event components include rocket launches, hot air balloon rides, and a wide variety of food, beer, and wine provided by regional food trucks and local restaurants.

The final word on the Starlight Festival is 'uniqu'. No one who attends this event will forget the experience.