6th Annual Dark Sky Festival at Harmony, FL on April 25 Celebrates Wonders of Night Skies and Promotes Fighting Light Pollution

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Stargazing, unique exhibits, informative speakers, astronomers, scientists, a Cosmic Kids Zone, glow in the dark games, Radio Disney Road Crew, Star Wars characters, food and fun make the Dark Sky Festival a truly out of this world event. The festival is held in Harmony, Florida (Osceola County; halfway between Walt Disney World and Melbourne Beach), a town designed with dark sky friendly public lighting as well as other measures intended to conserve natural resources. Free admission. For more information, call 407-891-8358. ALL ASTRONOMERS WELCOME! Attention out-of-towners: Reserve your room at an Osceola County hotel. Bring your hotel key to the Sales & Information Gallery and we will provide a FREE meal ticket for you. Brought to you by Oceola County and the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau. For visitor information call 800-333-KISS. Event Location: Harmony Town Square, 3500 Harmony Square Drive West, Harmony, FL 34773

The Dark Sky Festival is intended to celebrate and promote the benefits of a night-sky free from the effects of excessive artificial lighting

The 6th Annual Dark Sky Festival at Harmony (located in Central Florida; halfway between the Walt Disney World® Resort and Melbourne Beach) will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2009 from 6 - 11 PM. Sponsored by the Harmony Institute, Osceola County, the Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau, several Florida-based astronomy clubs, and Seminole Community College's Planetarium, the event will kick off at 6pm in the town of Harmony's Town Square and offers people of all ages an educational, fun evening out.

"The Dark Sky Festival is intended to celebrate and promote the benefits of a night-sky free from the effects of excessive artificial lighting," said Greg Golgowski, Harmony's full-time Conservation Director and a key member of the Dark Sky Festival Planning Committee. "Poor outdoor lighting not only washes out the splendor of the heavens, but also reduces visibility at night, wastes energy, and disturbs wildlife."

As with the past five Dark Sky Festivals, attendees will enjoy viewing the night skies through a variety of telescopes set up by amateur astronomy clubs from all over the southeast. There will also be lots of music and food, numerous specialty booths, an educational zone with presentations from astronomers and scientists, nocturnal creatures, a Cosmic Kids Zone, StarLab (a mobile planetarium), Mr. Science, Star Wars characters, magicians, street performers and so much more.

This date was selected because it falls on the heels of National Dark Sky week (April 20 - 26, 2009; http://www.ndsw.org), where people in the United States are encouraged to turn out their unnecessary outdoor lights in order to temporarily reduce light pollution.

After performances and speakers from organizations such as the International Dark Sky Association, the Florida Institute of Technology, Mr. Science, and the SCC Planetarium team, Jonn Serrie will take to Harmony's outdoor amphitheatre stage for a live concert. Mr. Serrie is a composer of space music, a genre of ambient Electronic music, and New Age music. He has recorded at least eighteen albums and worked on various projects for Lucasfilm, IMAX, NASA, the U.S. Navy, and Hayden Planetarium.

"We have 20 different entertainment and education presentations for people of all ages plus numerous exhibitors this year. We are thrilled with the line-up," said Shad Tome, president of Harmony Development Group.

The Festival is free and open to the general public. Over 2,000 people are expected to attend the event this year. Harmony and the Festival are located on US 192, east of St. Cloud in Osceola County (7251 Harmony Square Drive, 34773). For more information on the 6th Annual Dark Sky Festival at Harmony, please visit http://www.DarkSkyFestival.com or call 407-891-8358.

About the Harmony Institute: The Harmony Institute is a non-profit foundation founded in 1996 to promote the psychological, emotional and public health values of living in an integrated balance with companion animals, wildlife and environmental ecologies.

Created as a non-profit, independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Harmony Institute was formed by former Orlando Humane Society director Martha Lentz to promote the public health value of living in close proximity to animals and natural wildlife ecologies. The Institute was named in memory of Margaret Harmony Eastman, the mother of the founder. The Harmony Institute Center Advisory Board (HICAB) is a group of leading experts from some of the nation's most prestigious universities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States and is currently engaged in four studies within the Harmony community.

In addition to its research studies, the Institute develops programs to innovate new ways for human beings to enjoy peaceful, healthy, coexisting relationships with - animals and the environment. Additional information about the Harmony Institute can be found at http://www.harmonyinstitute.org.

About the Town of Harmony: Harmony (http://www.HarmonyFl.com) is Central Florida's largest certified green community and features Dark Sky Friendly lighting on its streets and homes. The town is designed to provide an old-fashioned hometown lifestyle, while preserving its natural setting. Harmony sits amid 11,000 acres and is naturally inhabited by a wide array of wildlife, two natural 500-acre lakes, miles of trails and walkable schools (K-12). 70% of Harmony will remain as open space. Harmony Sales and Information Gallery is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 to 6, and Sundays from 11 to 6 with community tours available daily. For more information, phone (407) 891-8358, or visit http://www.harmonyfl.com.

DIRECT ALL MEDIA INQUIRIES: Melanie Lentz-Janney, Doverwood Communications, 321-945-4208 or Melanie@doverwood.com

6 Reasons To Help Fight Light Pollution

(1) Light pollution wastes billions of dollars annually in the United States alone. $5 to $10 billion depending on whose numbers you want to use. That number grows each and every year. Don't you think we could find more productive uses for $5 to $10 billion dollars than lighting up the bottoms of clouds?

(2) Light pollution wastes incredible amounts of our valuable natural resources. We're talking hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and hundreds of millions of tons of coal each year.

(3) Light pollution pollutes the air we breathe through the unnecessary generation of electricity (to power all those wasted lights). Most of the electric is generated from burning fossil fuels (oil and coal). Air pollution is a huge problem that affects a very large segment of the population.

(4) Light pollution harms nocturnal wildlife. Many species won't even go near an area that has bad lighting. Also, many species will simply stop reproducing if habitat destruction from overly bright lights becomes too severe. Light Pollution currently threatens all Florida Sea Turtles.

(5) Light pollution harms humankind, being linked to some major ailments. This is serious stuff! Most recently, light at night has been linked to increased incidence of breast cancer.

(6) Light pollution destroys the views of the heavens that mankind has enjoyed since the beginning of time. 90% of Americans live under skies that are negatively affected by light pollution… while more than half cannot even see our own Milky Way Galaxy from their homes. This is a shame. Mankind has looked to the stars throughout history to try to understand events around them. We shouldn't let an unproductive, wasteful habit rob us of such wonders.

Information provided by Starry Night Lights (http://www.StarryNightLights.com)


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