Programs & Events

The Headlands is open 24 hours a day, every day, at no charge. There is no camping allowed. Programs take place rain or shine! Visitors are welcomed to stay out through the night for dark-sky viewing opportunities (camping units like tents and campers are not permitted; the Headlands is not intended as an overnight sleeping destination but a place to stay awake and view the stars!). You may bring blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, food, beverages, etc. Plan accordingly and dress for temperatures 10 degrees below what you expect.

Please use red-filtered flashlights only during your visit to the Headlands. Learn more here

Of special note for 2016 …

  • Construction on our waterfront program and observatory facility is well underway at the site of the former Beach House. Since Headlands remains open during construction, this portion of the property is closed to public access. Abide by the signage within the park to ensure the safety of all of our guests and to allow us to complete the project in a timely manner. All events listed on this brochure will take place at Headlands shoreline viewing, the Guest House, or at the Heritage Village, which is directly across the street from Headlands entrance. CONSTRUCTION UPDATES
  •  Programs take place rain or shine and no reservations are required unless otherwise noted.
  •  Register for email blasts about programs by contacting  darksky@emmetcounty.org or (231) 348-1713.

 

Jul
29
Fri
New in 2016: Starlight Trivia on Friday nights! @ Shoreline Dark Sky Viewing Area
Jul 29 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars

Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars ~ photo by Aliana Lee

Fridays throughout the summer, starting July 1 (and unless there is a formal program scheduled) join us at the shoreline viewing area with your favorite team of family and friends for Starlight Trivia, designed to test and delight your knowledge of the stars! In the event of inclement weather, Starlight Trivia will take place at the Heritage Village Pavilion, across the street from Headlands main entrance. There are prizes to win, star names to learn, and plenty of fun to be had!

Remaining Starlight Trivia dates are July 29; and Aug. 5, 19, 26, and trivia will conclude with one last hoorah on Sept. 2.

Jul
30
Sat
‘Fairy Tales in the Musical Moonlight’ Dark Sky Coast Association membership drive event July 30 @ Heritage Village park, across the street from the main entrance to the Headlands
Jul 30 @ 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm

An evening of music and magic in the moonlight is in store Saturday evening, July 30 as Northern Michigan’s Dark Sky Coast Association celebrates the rich heritage and dark skies along nearly 25 miles of Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Emmet County.

The public is invited to the evening program “Fairy Tales in the Musical Moonlight” from 8:30 to 10 pm under the festival tent at Heritage Village, directly across the street from the Headlands entrance. The program is free and will feature the Patterson Piano Duo together with Headlands Program Director Mary Stewart Adams. Guests will experience a night of magical music and storytelling linked to the stars, brought together as a celebration of the mission of Dark Sky Coast Association in order to raise membership in the association, friends, funds, and awareness.

The DSCA is a non-profit friends group that was formed in 2014 to help steward the natural beauty of the area, following the success of Emmet County achieving the rare distinction of International Dark Sky Park designation for its Headlands property. The designation was followed closely by State of Michigan legislation passing a bill to protect the natural darkness over an additional 20,000 acres of land, also in Emmet County, known as Michigan’s Dark Sky Coast.

Mary Stewart Adams

Mary Stewart Adams

“There is a rich heritage of cultural arts and stewardship in northwest lower Michigan that serves as the perfect foundation for this evening of entertainment,” said Adams, “and I am particularly excited to work with Tony and Casey, the Patterson Piano Duo. They’re really fun and talented folks, so it’s a terrific way to have a community celebration of the natural resources that are so vital to our area, and to introduce the initiative of the Dark Sky Coast Association. So many people are thrilled with our efforts and have wondered how they can get involved and show their financial support, so now we have a vessel for that.”

The Pattersons are known to play with a lot of spontaneity, beauty, and depth, and are well known in the local community from their performances at the Bay View Music Festival, Adams said. “But that’s not all! The Duo has also played with orchestras, pit bands, rock bands, pick-up bands, smooth jazz groups, and gospel choirs. Now, we’ll link them to the stars!” said Adams.

Anthony Patterson enjoys a multi-faceted career as solo pianist, composer, arranger, collaborative pianist and chamber musician. After beginning formal piano study at age three, Tony made his debut with the Lima Symphony when he was eight, playing Mozart’s Concerto no. 28. Casey Robards is a collaborative pianist and vocal coach known for her versatility, imagination, and sensitive musicality.  She has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, as well as France, Brazil and Costa Rica. A committed coach and pedagogue, Dr. Robards is currently on the faculty at Central Michigan University and serves as faculty artist at the Bay View Music Festival.

Headlands july 30 CASEY

Casey Robards

“Tony and Casey share a commitment to musical expressiveness and communication, and when they play together as a piano duo, audiences note that that their sound travels with a single-minded heart and soul that both relaxes and inspires.  This is the perfect set up for reaching into the starry night skies that we’ve protected over the northwest tip of Michigan’s mitt, and for raising awareness about why organizations like the Dark Sky Coast Association are essential to sustaining the natural beauty of our area,” said Adams.

In addition to her role as Headlands Program Director, Adams is also host of the weekly Interlochen Public Radio segment “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” and throughout the summer months she narrates night sky cruises along the Straits of Mackinac with Shepler’s Ferry service.

Guests are encouraged to arrive at least half an hour before the program begins at 8:30 p.m., to allow for parking and settling in before the show begins. The evening will include live music, storytelling, and guided tours of the night sky, as well as information sharing about the mission of the non-profit Dark Sky Coast Association. Light refreshments will be available.

“Bring family, friends, and bring enthusiasm for the wonder and beauty of it all,” said Adams.

The program will take place from 8:30 to 10 pm under the festival tent at Heritage Village, Mackinaw City, directly across the street from the entrance from the Headlands International Dark Sky Park. The Headlands entrance is located at 15675 Headlands Road, Mackinaw City. There is no charge to attend this program, though donations will be gladly accepted.

If you have questions, please contact Adams at (231) 838-8181. The DSCA is an independently run non-profit not affiliated with Emmet County.

Aug
5
Fri
New in 2016: Starlight Trivia on Friday nights! @ Shoreline Dark Sky Viewing Area
Aug 5 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars

Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars ~ photo by Aliana Lee

Fridays throughout the summer, starting July 1 (and unless there is a formal program scheduled) join us at the shoreline viewing area with your favorite team of family and friends for Starlight Trivia, designed to test and delight your knowledge of the stars! In the event of inclement weather, Starlight Trivia will take place at the Heritage Village Pavilion, across the street from Headlands main entrance. There are prizes to win, star names to learn, and plenty of fun to be had!

Remaining Starlight Trivia dates are July 29; and Aug. 5, 19, 26, and trivia will conclude with one last hoorah on Sept. 2.

Aug
12
Fri
Lights Out Challenge 2016, with the Perseids
Aug 12 @ 8:30 pm – 11:00 pm

lights out together

Our scheduled Perseid Meteor Shower Program gets underway at 9 pm at the Headlands Guest House, and by 10 pm, folks all over Northern Michigan are turning off their lights to join us in celebrating natural darkness and to count the falling stars!

Please arrive by 8:30 p.m. to catch sunset at the Guest House (and to get parked and settled in). Our program gets underway from 9 to 10 p.m., after which the Lights Out Challenge occurs in the surrounding communities (from 10 to 11 p.m.)
The brightness of First Quarter Moon doesn’t stand a chance against local enthusiasm for Lights Out under the Perseid Meteor Shower. Join us for an evening of counting the falling stars as the lights go out around Northern Michigan to celebrate the night sky! Every year, Emmet County joins together with the communities of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace across the Straits from one another, and the communities of Petoskey and Harbor Springs, across the Little Traverse Bay from one another, to see which communities can achieve greater darkness during the peak of the year’s most popular meteor shower, the Perseids! There are several ways you can participate right where you are: turn off your lights from 10 to 11 pm Friday, August 12; sign the Lights Out Pledge form and display it in your home our business; host a meteor watching party; join us at Headlands for a fun-filled and informative evening. Our efforts were recently featured by the International Dark Sky Association to help support other communities in raising awareness about night skies~click here for that article, and follow us on Facebook for the latest up-to-date announcements. Help your community win the challenge, turn out the lights and count your lucky stars!

Aug
19
Fri
New in 2016: Starlight Trivia on Friday nights! @ Shoreline Dark Sky Viewing Area
Aug 19 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars

Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars ~ photo by Aliana Lee

Fridays throughout the summer, starting July 1 (and unless there is a formal program scheduled) join us at the shoreline viewing area with your favorite team of family and friends for Starlight Trivia, designed to test and delight your knowledge of the stars! In the event of inclement weather, Starlight Trivia will take place at the Heritage Village Pavilion, across the street from Headlands main entrance. There are prizes to win, star names to learn, and plenty of fun to be had!

Remaining Starlight Trivia dates are July 29; and Aug. 5, 19, 26, and trivia will conclude with one last hoorah on Sept. 2.

Aug
26
Fri
New in 2016: Starlight Trivia on Friday nights! @ Shoreline Dark Sky Viewing Area
Aug 26 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars

Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars ~ photo by Aliana Lee

Fridays throughout the summer, starting July 1 (and unless there is a formal program scheduled) join us at the shoreline viewing area with your favorite team of family and friends for Starlight Trivia, designed to test and delight your knowledge of the stars! In the event of inclement weather, Starlight Trivia will take place at the Heritage Village Pavilion, across the street from Headlands main entrance. There are prizes to win, star names to learn, and plenty of fun to be had!

Remaining Starlight Trivia dates are July 29; and Aug. 5, 19, 26, and trivia will conclude with one last hoorah on Sept. 2.

Sep
2
Fri
New in 2016: Starlight Trivia on Friday nights! @ Shoreline Dark Sky Viewing Area
Sep 2 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars

Friday night trivia tests your knowledge of the stars ~ photo by Aliana Lee

Fridays throughout the summer, starting July 1 (and unless there is a formal program scheduled) join us at the shoreline viewing area with your favorite team of family and friends for Starlight Trivia, designed to test and delight your knowledge of the stars! In the event of inclement weather, Starlight Trivia will take place at the Heritage Village Pavilion, across the street from Headlands main entrance. There are prizes to win, star names to learn, and plenty of fun to be had!

Remaining Starlight Trivia dates are July 29; and Aug. 5, 19, 26, and trivia will conclude with one last hoorah on Sept. 2.

Sep
17
Sat
Harvest Festival Dance with the Jill Jack Band! @ Festival Tent (location at Headlands TBD)
Sep 17 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Come dance with us in the Headlands Festival tent to celebrate the season with live music under light of the Full Harvest Moon! Performing will be the renowned Jill Jack Band! More details to follow …

Oct
29
Sat
8th annual Headlands Challenge @ Park Entrance
Oct 29 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Our annual Headlands Challenge will bring you through the dark from the park entrance to the dark sky viewing area, along a dimly lighted path! Do you dare??!! M

One of our most popular events of the year takes place on the eve of the second New Moon this month, a rare phenomenon known as “black Moon,” which stirs up the perfect mood of spooky fun and drama! Take the one-mile, candlelit walk through the Headlands, designed to celebrate the courage it takes to be in the dark.

Nov
18
Fri
‘Friday Night (No) Lights’ for the Leonids @ Shoreline viewing area at Headlands
Nov 18 @ 10:00 pm – 11:45 pm

We know it’s football season, but it’s also the peak of the lion’s meteor shower, and you’re invited to join us for a beautiful night under starry skies.