Stay Tuned for our 2024 Festival Date

It has taken me a week to find the words to express the amazement I felt at our 4th Annual Dark Sky Festival. This event was a beautiful display of the enthusiasm our community has for the special dark sky treasure we all enjoy. Being an International Dark Sky Community isn’t just a badge we wear, it’s something we get to live every single night. We may not have the darkest skies in the world, but what we have is unique and special given our proximity to the country’s fifth largest metro area. It is something we will continue to protect in every way we know how.

I want to give a shout out to those who made this event possible:

OUR BOARD: The Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association is a group of 13 residents who are passionate about our night sky and the impact it has on wildlife, human health, safety, and our night sky heritage. They worked tirelessly for several months to pull off this magnificent event. They’re a Gold Star team that deserves a standing ovation for what they accomplished.

OUR VOLUNTEERS: We had 100 volunteers for this year’s event. Believe it or not, that still wasn’t enough. But the volunteers who showed up displayed their professionalism, friendliness, and willingness to serve. Many of them started their shifts early and stayed late to help us cover all the bases when more and more attendees showed up. We love you all to the moon and back. Thank you.

OUR SPONSORS: It’s no surprise that an event like this costs some money. Our sponsors showed that they believe in our efforts and made it financially possible for us to create such an amazing night for all ages. We are so grateful for your support and participation this year. Please see the graphic below that shows all of our event sponsors. 

OUR PARTNERS: One thing that always makes an event better is when there is collaboration beyond the planning committee. We had several people and entities that enhanced the event to make it so much more special with their participation. These include our guest speakers (Paul Bogard, Rhonda Stroud, and Joe Bill), the live music (Scott Hallock with Suzi Kiraly and band), all of our exhibitors, food trucks, and adult beverage vendors, the Fountain Hills Library, and the River of Time Museum & Exploration Center.

OUR TOWN: No one can pull off an event of this scale without the assistance and guidance of the Town of Fountain Hills staff. We especially thank Mayor Ginny Dicky, Jennifer Lyons, Linda Ayers, Bill Houghey, Kevin Snipes, and anyone else who had a hand in helping us handle the logistical details. 

Vicky Derksen, President
Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association


Dark Sky Festival Sponsors

Thank you to all our sponsors for helping us to make the 2023 festival possible.


PAUL BOGARD: Is it the End of Night?

Paul Bogard was the keynote speaker for our 2023 festival. If you missed his presentation, you can watch it here.

Paul Bogard is the author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light, a finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. His most recent works include the edited anthology Solastalgia: An Anthology of Emotion in a Disappearing World, the coffee table book To Know a Starry Night, and the children’s book What if Night? Paul is an associate professor of English at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota USA, where he teaches environmental literature and writing. 

Check out Paul’s website and buy his books HERE.

JOE BILL: How are Fountain Hills, NASA, & the Smithsonian Connected?

Joe Bill, the president of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center, shares about a new exhibit at the Smithsonian that includes Fountain Hills. He also gives a brief update about the Discovery Center. 


Thank you to Cindy Couture and Peggy Yeargain for organizing our 2023 Student Art Contest and to all the teachers who helped their students create great works of art.

This year’s theme was “Wildlife and the Night Sky.”

These were the winners by category:


3rd place  – Lianna Phillips
2nd place – Brenden Walters
1st place – Wesley Ostlund
Grades 1-3
3rd place – Nico Fletes
2nd place – Hayes Thyfault
1st place – Markus Batchelor
Grades 4-5
3rd place – Charleigh Tusha
2nd place – Violet Wilson
1st place – Lydia Batchelor
Grades 6-8
3rd place – Danial Beard
2nd place – Gia Ivie
1st place – Aaliyah Delgado
Grades 9-12
3rd place – Birdie Flowers
2nd place – Jordan Prieskorn
1st place – Cynthia Espinoza
Collage / Digital / Poster
3rd place – Charles Zemke
2nd place – Leann Lalo
1st place – Daniella Ernst