Starfest 2017 Activities


The founding family Kidsfest duo is back this year with an exciting look into the Hot and Cold of our solar system.  The youngest of our little astronomers (ages 1-6) will be first up at Kidsfest exploring things cold in our solar system.  Later, our older kid astronomers (7+) will be adventuring to the hotter side of space.  And of course, there will be a fun craft for all age groups to close off each epic hour of learning, science, and adventure.

Mercedes Davy

Burr it’s Cold Outside!

Join in on an exploration of the colder side of space.  Explore planets, moons and other things zipping around our solar system that are really cold or covered in frozen stuff.  What makes them so cold?  Attendees will have an opportunity to draw their own shelter for a really cold body in space!!!

Mercedes Davy

Mercedes has been coming to Starfest since she was 4 and this year she is returning not only as a Kidsfest alumna, but she is reprising her role as a presenter at Kidsfest.  Mercedes is the reason Kidsfest was started in the first place!  As she got older, Mercedes helped plan and run Kidsfest with her dad for many years.  Now all grown up, Mercedes returns to Kidsfest to chill out the younger crowd.

Ken Davy

Hot, Hot, Hot...

For the older kids, we look at what makes thing hot in our solar system.  What heats up planets and moons?  What happens to comets when they warm up?  For this group, they will work in teams to design a mission to the hottest destinations in the solar system.

Ken Davy

Ken is back putting on Kidsfest after passing on the reins 10 years ago.  Ken’s interest in astronomy began in 1993 and that year he came to his first Starfest... and he hasn’t missed a year since.  Ken’s weird observing passion is grabbing star charts and hunting down as many of the galaxies shown on each one.  In 1995 Ken started Kidsfest, which over time has evolved as a fun and educational activity for the youngest generation attending Starfest.  This year Ken is going to heat things up for the older of the youngest kids.

Astrophotography Competition

The Starfest Astrophotography Competition is open to all registrants of Starfest.  Images are to be submitted well in advance of the Star party for judging.  All images will be judged and shown during Saturday night’s program, and prizes will be awarded to the top ranking images.  Please see the Imaging Contest tab for rules and deadlines.  To contact the Chairman click here.

We encourage all registrants to apply, as this is a friendly competition to recognize talent in our midst.  As long as the theme is astronomy, you can use any kind of digital equipment - cell phone, point and shoot camera, DSLR, CCD, Malincam, Stellacam, webcam, spycam, GoPro etc ...

Remember to sit near the front during the show .... your name might be called!

Observing Sessions

Enjoy stargazing under amazing skies with your fellow astronomy enthusiasts.  Bring your telescope and binoculars and join us for our evening observing sessions.  Don’t have your own telescope?  Come along and look through some of ours.  We are always happy to share.

Door Prizes

On Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. the door prize draw will be held in the Main Tent.  Thousands of dollars of astronomical merchandise, provided by the astronomical retailers and manufactures participating in Starfest, will be given away.  You must claim your prize at the time your name is drawn.  If you are not present when your name is drawn, another name will be drawn until the prize is given away.  Your name is automatically entered into the draw if you paid a registration fee as follows: One draw ticket per individual registration, two draw tickets for each family registration, and one draw ticket for each youth registration.

Star Chart

Sky Tour

Join us for a tour of the night sky on Friday at 10pm. The Sky Tour will be conducted in the field just west of the main tent.  You don’t want to miss this event! (Saturday night if cloudy)

Solar Observing Session

Join us for a solar viewing session on Friday 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. next to the Baseball Field.  A variety of telescopes and filters will be used to observe the sun.

Solar Filter Construction Workshop

Do you want to observe the Sun but don't have a solar filter? No worries, this year we are offering a solar filter construction workshop.  It starts with a short ‘how to make a solar filter demonstration’ followed by a hands-on session where you will be able to construct a solar filter for your telescope, binoculars, or camera lens. 

Baader solar film will be used to make the solar filters, based on the construction method found on the Baader website.  In addition, a variation on this design will be described, which enables the quick and easy removal / replacement of the filter at the start and end of totality if you are observing a total solar eclipse.

Regrettably this workshop will be limited to just 25 people and a fee needs to be charged to cover the material cost which will depend on the size of the solar filter kit pre-ordered for this workshop.  Two solar filter kit sizes are available:

  • The small solar filter kit consists of a 16.5 cm x 16.5 cm sheet of Baader Solar film and other construction material needed to make a cell for the filter.  This kit is appropriate for telescopes under 130 mm in diameter, or binoculars or camera lenses.  It can also be used for making full face solar viewers.  The cost of this kit is $15.
  • The large kit consists of a 25 cm x 25 cm sheet of Baader Solar film and other construction material needed to make a cell for the filter.  This kit is appropriate for telescopes larger than 130 mm in diameter, or if you need filters for several instruments.  The cost of this kit is $25.

Because of the limited number of participants and our need to pre-order materials we require people to register for this workshop at the same time they register for Starfest.  Our registration form will have this option along with your selection of solar filter size.  To help us with planning please include in the comments section a list of equipment for which you will be making filters.  Register early to ensure a spot in this workshop.

** Due to the inherit danger of looking at the Sun we require you to sign a liability waver before you will be allowed to participate.

Optics Cleaning Station

On Friday afternoon from 1:00pm until 3:00pm and again on Saturday afternoon from 1:30pm until 3:30pm bring your eyepieces, mirrors, and lenses to our optics cleaning station.  We provide solutions and a work area on the north end of the Main Tent in the Baseball field for you to clean your glass.

Swap Tables

Swap Table

Participants will have the opportunity to buy, sell or trade astronomical articles on Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The swap tables will be located on the basketball court.  These tables are not for commercial sales. Individuals will be responsible for their own property at the tables.

Friday Night at the Movies

On Friday night at 7:00 p.m. a movie with an astronomical theme will be shown in the Rec Hall for the kids.  If it’s cloudy on Friday or Saturday night the movie will be shown in the Main Tent for everyone.

Saturday Night Banquet

A buffet style dinner will be served in the Main Tent on Saturday evening by the staff of Harleys Pub and Perk, from Mildmay On.  The following food items will be available:

  • BBQ Pork Ribs
  • Bruschetta Chicken
  • Meatballs — Sweet and Sour
  • Mini Potatoes
  • Tossed Chopped Salad
  • Rice Pilaf (for the vegetarians) will have Edamame, Black Beans & vegetables
  • Hot Mixed Vegetables (no cheese or nuts)
  • Desserts
  • Coffee/ Tea / Pop / Water

All are welcome to purchase a ticket for the buffet.  To avoid disappointment, order your banquet tickets with your pre-registration.

Starfest Merchandise

A limited quantity of Starfest T-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps, and pins will be available.  To avoid disappointment, order your promotional items with your pre-registration.


Get into the Club

Astronomy is a community activity.  The North York Astronomical Association is an organized group of amateur astronomers who enjoy observing, astrophotography and many other astronomy related activities.  To satisfy the needs and interests of our members the club maintains two observing sites, and holds monthly meetings and observing sessions.  Membership in the NYAA is open to all.  Membership: $50 individual, $65 family.  In addition, there is a $25 site access fee which allows unlimited access to our two observing sites, one near Schomberg (approx. 45 mins. North West of Toronto) and the other at Oak Heights (1 hour east of Toronto).

Starfest Co-ordinates

Longitude: 80° 50′ 27″ W, Latitude: 44° 40′ 280″ N, Elevation: 400 metres.

Starfest 2018

Starfest 2018 will be held Aug 9th to 12th.