Taking place during August's new moon weekend, when the sky is at its darkest and the stars are most visible, the four day Julian StarFest brings a mix of professional astronomers and backyard stargazers together. Beginning on Thurs. Aug. 21 and running through Aug. 24th, the event takes place at Menghini Winery in Julian, CA. Menghini Winery is the perfect location for stargazing, located away from city lights in the foothills of Volcan Mountain, the six-acre vineyard is also surrounded by an apple orchard and stunning hillside views.
On Friday Aug. 22 there will be a lecture, Photographing the August Night Sky - A Workshop by Dennis Mammana which will highlight the basic tecniques used in capturing those gourgous images of the night skies. Dennis Mammana is one of America's favorite night sky photographers, and will lead the lecture and workshop. It is recommended that attendees bring a camera with manual focus a normal or wide-angle lens (preferably with an aperture of f/2.8 or faster), a tripod, and a red light flashlight (or a regular flash light covered with red film. The lecture will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and then from 8:15 to 9:45 p.m. attendees will be photographing the stars with the new techniques that they learned in the lecture. Photographing the August Night Sky - A Workshop by Dennis Mammana is $50 per person and must be registered ahead of time online
There will also be kids activities on Friday including the Save our Stars, presentation which is put on by the International Dark Sky Association at their booth at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday kids can take part in fun star-related crafts at games from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and even create their very own constellations.
The main free event for the public, the General Public Star Party, takes place on Saturday Aug. 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. Stargazers can peruse the StarFest grounds at Menghini Winery, exploring the night sky through the number of different telescopes that are arranged in the viewing area. Experts will be on hand to answer any questions and illustrate what stargazers are viewing. While the General Public Star Party is free, people who wish to enter in the drawing must arrive at the StarFest grounds at 5 p.m. and pay admission price.
Parking is in a nearby area - and as it will be dark - it is advised that attendees bring a red flashlight. There will be no white lights allowed in the viewing area (as to allow for optimal viewing of the stars and the night sky). If attendees don't have a red light flashlight there will be people providing red film to cover their flashlights. Admission to the vendor and exhibit area is $5 for adults, $2.50 for teens ages 13 to 18 and free for children 12 and under. Admission can be purchased at the gate and is good for the two days of activities.
Menghini Winery is located at 1150 Julian Orchards Ln, Julian, CA 92036.