Northern lights leap out at Fort Smith’s Dark Sky Festival

Fort Smith’s Dark Sky Festival ended on Sunday with attendees celebrating a weekend of connection, healing, knowledge – and stunning, clear night skies.

Despite the threat of nearby wildfire smoke, stargazers looking up overnight between Saturday and Sunday were treated to a phenomenal aurora display.

The weekend’s events involved lessons on the aurora, constellations and planets alongside workshops with author Richard Van Camp.


A workshop on the reclamation of family medicine, which invited participants to share the change they wish to bring to their lives, formed an emotional discussion that some attendees found particularly healing.

“I felt so connected to everyone, even though we’d just met yesterday,” one festival-goer said. “I was able to share some very vulnerable things about myself, and everyone responded with such kindness.

“This entire weekend has been so warm. I’ve made a new family, friends that I know will support me for the rest of my life, and I learned so much about my place in the world.

“It was such a healing experience that I wasn’t expecting, coming into it. It was life-changing.”

The festival ended with an acoustic performance by Fort Smith’s Andrew Shedden, fire-roasted bannock on a stick, and viewings of Jupiter and Saturn through telescopes.


All photos on this page: Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio