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Warren Coalition’s Love Our Community event pulls crowd despite cold



The Warren Coalition concluded a successful membership drive for the “We See You, Warren County” program with a “Love Our Community” event on Tuesday, February 15th outside of Raymond E. Santmyers Youth Center. During the event, which attracted dozens of people despite the cold weather, community volunteers were doused with cold water balloons in the popular “Polar Pitch.”

Children made valentines and wrote love notes to their community, then took pictures with a giant “love” sign created by the Warren Coalition’s Julia Laurent and Ryan Cubbage. Families enjoyed free hot chocolate, granola bars, and Hershey kisses. There was a guess-the-number-of-candies-in-the-jar game as well as drawings for bracelets, coffee, pop-its, and stuffed animals. The photo booth was entertaining, along with a constant flow of music and some impromptu dancing. In addition, resilience materials were given away to families; these kits help parents and children learn how to build resilience, a key component of preventing drug and alcohol misuse.

Of course, there was also a table for registering for the We See You, Warren County program, which brought in seven new memberships in less than an hour. Overall, the membership drive ran February 7th-15th and resulted in 40 new members for the program, a resounding success.

“We are thankful for the support of all the volunteers who came to the event to set up, run stations, and clean up,” said Warren Coalition Executive Director Christa Shifflett. “We are grateful to the volunteers who were courageous enough to get a water balloon dropped on their head in the middle of February. Their commitment to our community is palpable and hope-inspiring!”

The seven Polar Pitch Burst volunteers were: Beth Waller of What Matters Now & Beth Medved Waller, Inc. Real Estate; Front Royal Police Chief Kahle Magalis; Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler; Jen Avery of Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC; Terry Caldwell of House of Hope; Kyle Dulapa of Marlow Motors; and Bret Hrbek of Edward Jones.

It took five “We See You, Warren County” registrations to get a volunteer into the “cold” seat of the Polar Pitch Burst. With no more volunteers on stand-by for the Pitch Burst, when the registrations hit 40, Shifflett took a seat with no hesitation. Once she was dripping wet, Cubbage, who had been running the Polar Pitch, took a seat, getting an extra dousing when the community volunteers helped the kids dump the extra tubs of water onto him.

We See You, Warren County, is a program of intentionally reaching out to others, to help build a sense of connection within Warren County. Developing a sense of belonging within the community helps improve mental health and prevent drug and alcohol misuse. There is no cost to the program; signing up is simply commitment to do your best to participate. Individuals, businesses, and organizations are welcome to join. For more information, visit, visit the Facebook group at, or email

Easton Avery, Willow Rutz and Jo Rutz

Grandmom Phyllis Pierpoint and Berkley Pierpoint enjoy the photo booth during the Love Our Community event.

Tina Culbreath, from I’m Just Me Because Movement, and Jen Avery with the LOVE sign.

Robbie Sealock, Jen Avery and Kahle Magalis

Ryan Cubbage and Christa Shifflett having a little fun; Christa was taunting the kids to get them fired up as she sat in the chair.

Ryan had the COLD buckets dumped on his head by the children. They LOVED it!

Christa Shifflett

Kyle Dulapa

Mark Butler

Terry Caldwell

Beth Medved Waller

Bret Hrbek

Kahle Magalis

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Community Events

Kids’ Day Moves Indoors but Fun Remains Unshaken



Warren Coalition partners with local agencies to adapt and enhance the celebration.

As the first raindrops fall and the sky turns a shade darker, Warren County residents might be revisiting their weekend plans. But, those looking forward to the Celebrate Kids Day have nothing to fear, as the event will go on without a hitch. This event is from 1 pm to 4 pm on Sunday, September 24.

Thanks to quick thinking and a community that rallies behind its children, the Warren Coalition, in collaboration with Warren County Parks & Recreation, has made suitable adjustments. The event, initially planned outdoors, will now be majorly hosted inside the 15th Street Gym at the Health & Human Services Complex and the Diversified Minds Conference Room. This change, aimed at dodging mud and incoming light rain, comes after Diversified Minds graciously opened its space for the celebration.

Despite the change of venue, the day’s line-up remains as exciting as ever. From inflatable rides and pumpkin painting sessions, for the first 200 children to face painting and a plethora of games, children are in for a treat. Additionally, the music, performances, and cake walks promise a day full of energy and laughter. Local agencies have come on board, amplifying the joy and ensuring an array of fun-filled activities for children of all ages.

For those who don’t mind a sprinkle or two, the pitch burst, and pony rides are still on the roster, along with a petting zoo to add that extra touch of delight. As forecasts suggest, the rain should recede by the afternoon, giving ample time for these outdoor activities to shine.

Yet, this spirit of adaptability isn’t just seen in the Coalition’s event planning. The Celebrate Kids Day is more than just an event; it’s a testament to Warren County’s commitment to its children and the community at large. Rain or shine, the county proves once again that the spirit of celebration cannot be dampened.

Warren Coalition’s “Celebrate Kids Day” Has New Home This Year


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Community Events

A Step Back in Time: George Mercer and Winchester’s Historic Weekend



Reliving the 1750s: Mercer’s Legacy and Winchester’s Pivotal Role.

Winchester, Virginia – It’s not every day that one gets a chance to walk through history and meet some of its iconic figures. On Oct 7 and 8, 2023,  at Abram’s Delight, history enthusiasts and curious locals alike will get just that chance as members of George Mercer’s Company of the Virginia Regiment prepare to recreate life from the mid-1700s.

Tony Elar Jr., a captain of the Mercer’s Company re-enactment group, points out that George Mercer wasn’t just any historical figure. “Mercer was Washington’s aide-de-camp at Fort Loudoun, effectively becoming his right-hand man,” said Elar. The fort, which stands as a testament to Winchester’s defense strategies during the French and Indian War, was also a hub for repairing weaponry and offering soldiers some much-needed rest.

One might imagine the fort as a quiet place, but Elar paints a different picture. “The Virginia Regiment sometimes had about 500 men in town, stationed at the fort. And these soldiers? Well, they had their share of fun, often sneaking off to local taverns,” he chuckles, recalling the many letters Washington had to pen to local innkeepers, asking them to keep his men away from alcohol.

Fast forward nearly 270 years, and George Mercer’s legacy is alive and kicking. Thanks to Elar’s group, which was formed in 2015, the history of the Virginia Regiment and their authentic 1756 uniforms (shipped from none other than England!) are showcased at regional events.

Beyond the reenactments, the weekend promises more than just a visual treat. As visitors explore the camp at 1340 S. Pleasant Valley Road, they’ll get a sense of the clothing, culinary arts, and weaponry of the period. “We camp out overnight, with tents set up exactly as they would have been back in the day,” added Elar, admitting that the busy South Pleasant Valley Road corridor makes for some noisy nights.

And for those wondering about the heavy woolen attire in potentially scorching weather? Elar laughingly remarked, “Once you start sweating in wool, it’s almost like having an air conditioner!”

But the weekend’s highlight? Engaging tales of Winchester during the French and Indian War. With no battles on record here, the spotlight is on Fort Loudoun and how French officers, upon surveying the fort, deemed it “too powerful, too strong” to attack.

Furthermore, visitors are in for a special treat. Middletown Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV will bring a young Col. George Washington to life, with whispers of a surprise visit from General Edward Braddock, the colonies’ commander-in-chief at the war’s beginning.

Winchester isn’t just a location. It’s a time machine to the 1750s, bringing forth the tales, sounds, and sights of a bygone era. An era of resilience, strategy, and iconic figures. All are invited to this journey, with no admission fee for the ceremony, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Abram’s Delight.

Click here for more information on the ceremony.

Abram’s Delight is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: Adults $6.00; Seniors $5.00; Students K-12 $3.00

Click here for more information on Abram’s Delight.



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Community Events

Experience fall in the mountains at the 2023 Hands & Harvest Festival



Highland County’s annual Hands & Harvest Festival returns with county-wide fall fun during the weekend of October 6 – 8, 2023, where everyone is invited to celebrate the traditions, harvest, and crafts found in this rural mountain community.

From farms to a fire tower, visitors can experience the sights and tastes of the season while viewing the beautiful countryside of fall foliage.  On the self-guided Harvest Trail, the public is invited to take part in traditional fall staples like cider pressing, making apple butter, or picking pumpkins at local farms and maple sugar camps, or they can try something different like viewing the process of creating colorful barn quilts or taking a tour of a mini equine sanctuary.  While traveling, guests can get their Virginia Maple Syrup Trail passports stamped at five sugar camps – get them while you can before the trail program ends on March 31, 2024 (

Community activities include an exciting 5K Fall Color Run, Valley AeroSpace Team Rocket Launches, the restored Sounding Knob Fire Tower, popular annual sweater and used book sales, historic Monterey walking tours starting from the Highland Inn, and more.  New attractions like the Charles Pinckney Jones House Museum, the working cattle farm of Hazy Hollow Farm, and the grand opening of the local artist gallery The 3rd Space add to the opportunities to create lasting memories.

Free entertainment in Monterey is available for the entire family!  Kick off your weekend on Friday afternoon with bluegrass music at the Highland County Courthouse Lawn from Eyes on Him while you shop.  On Saturday starting at noon, children can take a ride on Andy’s Bug Train that is sure to bring smiles.  On Sunday afternoon, join in the excitement of an old-fashioned Street Dance on Spruce Street with one of Virginia’s oldest clogging groups, the Little Switzerland Cloggers, as well as local square dance callers Ellen and Eugene Ratcliffe for a rollicking performance and interactive fun.

Get an early start on holiday shopping at the Arts & Crafts Vendor Market located on the courthouse lawn.  Complete your shopping needs by visiting an old general store or unique venue nestled among the countryside like Sugar Tree Country Store, Blue Grass Mercantile, Jenny Wren Gatherings, Ginseng Mountain Farm & Store, The Church at the Old Oak, or the new Highland Roots Market.

Bring your appetite, because there will be abundant food options available around the county.  The Friday Highland Farmers’ Market, Puff’s BBQ, and Martinez Kitchen will be open on the courthouse lawn.  Fall-themed menus at local restaurants with expanded hours are sure to please.  Whether you visit traditional staples like High’s Restaurant and Hull’s Hideaway Restaurant & Tavern or newer establishments like Claire’s Cakes & Café, The Curly Maple, or the Monterey Inn, your tastebuds will thank you!  Plus, Big Fish Cider, Co. will be open with their award-winning craft ciders in Monterey.

Many adventures await with a visit to Highland County, Virginia.  The full schedule, details, and addresses of all the festival happenings can be found at  Maps with daily schedules will be available at local stores and on the Highland County Courthouse Lawn in Monterey during the event.

The Hands & Harvest Festival is brought to you by the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.  Top sponsors include Bath Community Hospital, Fair Lawn Farm, and the Highland County Arts Council.

The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) membership nonprofit organization with a mission to lift up local businesses and entrepreneurs, promote Highland County, and champion economic prosperity and quality of life.  For more information, please visit

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Community Events

Lake Frederick Annual Veterans Association Picnic & Fundraiser 2023



Last week, the Lake Frederick community gathered to honor veterans from all over, including the guest of honor Captain Dale Davis, US Army Retired. Captain Davis has served on the Lake Frederick Veterans Association as President for the last seven years. He was celebrated at the picnic and thanked for his efforts through the years.

At the event, the Randolph-Macon Academy Drill Platoon commanded by Cadet 1st Sergeant Michael Hays ’25, and Color Guard commanded by Cadet 1st Lieutenant Kamila Yusupova ’24, opened the event with the long-standing military tradition of pass in review and presentation of colors. Winchester Pipes and Drums did an amazing job assisting the ceremony. The Association has 307 veteran members from Lake Frederick and the greater Lake Frederick area!

After the ceremony, R-MA cadets were invited to join Lake Frederick residents, guests, and families during the picnic. Music by Robbie Limon Band created a fun atmosphere for the rest of the day!

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Community Events

Walking with History: A Fundraiser Tour to Remember the Fallen



Battlefield Tour and Virtual Experience to Benefit Wreaths Across America.

This October, history enthusiasts have the unique opportunity to walk the grounds where the Battle of New Market transpired while simultaneously supporting the non-profit Wreaths Across America. At the heart of this initiative are historians Sarah Kay Bierle and Jon Tracey, who are combining their passion for history with a cause close to their hearts.

Scheduled for Sunday, October 1, 2023, from 2-4 p.m., the fundraiser battlefield tour at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park promises attendees an enriching experience. While tracing the paths of the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets and the Union soldiers they clashed with, participants will cover approximately 1.5 miles of historic terrain. Tickets are required for the fundraiser tour and are $25 per person and may be acquired here.

However, it’s not just about the battle itself. The tour will delve deep into stories of the soldiers and cadets, detailing the lengthy process of laying these heroes to rest, with many finding their final resting place in Winchester National Cemetery.

For those unable to step onto the battlefield in person, there’s a virtual alternative. A donation of $17 grants access to a recorded history program available on October 7, discussing fresh research on the Battle of New Market and the significance of Winchester National Cemetery. Tickets for the virtual program may also be acquired here.

The goal is straightforward and noble: to raise $3,000 to help Wreaths Across America place more wreaths at Winchester National Cemetery during the holidays. Bierle and Tracey are leveraging their extensive research and guiding skills, even donating their time to this worthy cause. Their commitment is evident in their past works and affiliations, with both holding significant positions at Emerging Civil War, a platform dedicated to sharing original articles related to the American Civil War and fostering a community of budding researchers and historians.

Their motivation? For Bierle, the gratitude she feels for the sacrifices of soldiers resonates deeply. “This year, we will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of these fallen soldiers… they are not forgotten,” she expressed. For Tracey, who has extensively researched Winchester National Cemetery, the act of remembering is diverse. Whether it’s walking the battleground or placing a wreath, each gesture is a tribute to the soldiers’ memory.

With the combined allure of history and a heartwarming cause, this fundraiser offers a unique experience for attendees, both in-person and virtual. As Bierle encapsulated, “Come join us on October 1 or virtually on October 7. We hope many will join us… to create a meaningful, honoring experience.” The layers of Civil War history in the Shenandoah Valley beckon with a message of remembrance, learning, and tribute.

Click here to make a donation to Emerging Civil War’s fundraiser for Wreaths Across America and participate on the battlefield or virtually.

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Democrat Hopefuls Engage with Virginia Voters Ahead of 2023 Elections



Meet and Greet at Sherando Park Aims to Connect, Inform, and Energize.

In an age where connection often comes at the click of a button, face-to-face interactions still hold unmatched value. As the early voting kickstarts for 2023, Frederick County in Virginia is set to witness such genuine connections this Sunday. The Sherando Park Large Pavilion will serve as the backdrop for local Democrat candidates as they meet their constituents, eager to share their goals and understand the aspirations and concerns of the residents.

The afternoon’s proceedings will begin with welcoming remarks from Stephens City’s Mayor, Mike Diaz. Following the warm welcome, the limelight will fall on the trio of aspirants: Mady Rodriguez, vying for House of Delegates in District 32; Steve Foreman, eyeing the House seat for District 31; and Emily Scott, competing for District 1’s State Senate slot. Given the relatively recent formation of these districts, citizens are prompted to confirm their polling locations on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Steve Foreman, no stranger to media scrutiny due to a Warren County controversy, acknowledges the enthusiasm that envelopes this year’s voters. He said, “I think voters are motivated this year like none other,” attributing not just to the localized library concerns but to broader issues like reproductive freedom, voting rights, and pivotal public school funding.

Ridriguez and Scott echo Foreman’s sentiments but with distinct perspectives. Scott, with her roots in the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, began her campaign journey by focusing on tangible topics like road and bridge safety. Yet, her interactions shed light on an overwhelming concern about reproductive rights. She asserts, “This is a human rights issue,” emphasizing her resolve to champion both individual freedoms and day-to-day issues families grapple with.

For Rodriguez, her academic and community-centric roles at Shenandoah University and Laurel Ridge Community College have painted a consistent picture. The foundation of any thriving community, she believes, lies in “excellent public education, good jobs, and affordable housing.”

It promises to be an enlightening afternoon this Sunday at Sherando Park, with Frederick County residents getting an invaluable opportunity to align their visions for the future with those of the candidates.

In Politics, the Power Lies in Conversations and Connections.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
7:04 am7:04 pm EDT
Feels like: 59°F
Wind: 2mph N
Humidity: 92%
Pressure: 30.19"Hg
UV index: 0

Upcoming Events

10:30 am College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
Sep 27 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
Join us for College Day at the Middletown Campus, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Sept. 27, in the Corron Community Development Center. Meet with reps from more than 40 public and private universities, including Bluefield[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Sep 27 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
10:00 am Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth Connections Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. Join professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch to learn about the remarkable seasonal wild edible and medicinal plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This full-day hike will cover native and[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 4 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 7 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Oct 7 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 8 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 11 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 14 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
6:00 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 14 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA’s Jet Propulsion[...]