PR: Dark Sky Festival Returns to Cook County, MN Dec. 9-11, 2021


Dark Sky Festival Returns to Cook County, Minnesota Dec. 9-11, 2021

Three-day event will celebrate the county’s world-class dark sky


Cook County, Minn. – Dec. 1, 2021 – Cook County’s Dark Sky Festival will return Dec. 9-11, celebrating the area’s world-class dark sky with programs, activities, dinners and more.

This event is especially fitting as Northern Minnesota was recently named one of the “25 amazing journeys for 2022” by National Geographic because of the region’s lack of light pollution and dark skies.

This year’s festival kicks off Thursday, Dec. 9, with a special night along the Gunflint Trail at Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters, next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, one of only 15 International Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world. The evening will include a Dark Skies Dinner with a Constellation Presentation and a guided Celestial Legends night hike. Reservations can be made via Gunflint Lodge. Visitors can stay in a lakeside fireplace cabin Dec. 8-10 with Gunflint Lodge’s Dark Skies Package, with dark sky dinner, presentation and night hike included.

On Friday, Dec. 10, Grand Marais will celebrate the Dark Sky Festival with “Turn Out the Lights!” an event in Harbor Park where attendees will watch the city go dark for a few minutes to enjoy a darker-than-normal sky over the iconic harbor. Following “Turn Out the Lights!” a Star Party with staff and students from the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium will be at Voyageur Brewing Company, which will include telescope viewing and a live star/constellation show under the stars.

The weekend will be full of other programs that are free but with limited capacity for safety with masking required. Early sign-up is recommended.


Friday, Dec. 10

4:30 p.m. | Winter Constellation Stories with Emma Adams | Studio 21, Grand Marais


Saturday, Dec. 11

3 p.m. | Animals and Dark Skies with Steve Robertsen | Studio 21, Grand Marais

4 p.m. | Saving the Dark – a Documentary Movie and Q&A with Starry Skies North IDA | Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery, Grand Marais

7 p.m. | Asteroids, Meteors and Comets Oh My!! with Emma Adams | Studio 21, Grand Marais

8 p.m. | Dark Sky Adventures with Travis Novitsky | Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery, Grand Marais 

The festival will conclude with a Night Sky Walk along the Lake Loop Trail in Sweethearts Bluff Nature Area with Starry Skies North and Superior National Forest employee Caroline Torkildson and dark sky photographer Travis Novitsky.

“We are excited to once again bring our community, partners and fans of our dark skies together to celebrate,” said Linda Jurek, Visit Cook County Executive Director. “While all presentations on Friday and Saturday are free, space is limited so register early.“

See the full schedule, details and registration information for presentations:

 About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at