My sincere thanks to the SJAA board of directors for the SJAA's sponsorship of the first California Star Party (CSP). The event was held at Lake San Antonio, 30 miles south of King City over the nights of September 29th and 30th. Advertised mostly by word of mouth, a posting or two on the internet, and via TAC's Bay Area mailing list, all who attended came away wanting CSP to develop into an annual event.
With Friday night being difficult for many on short notice (we began working on CSP only a few months in advance), observers were arriving late into the evening. Saturday saw more arrivals until finally, at sunset, 80 telescopes, give or take, were on scene. People came from as far south as San Diego, and north from Sacramento area. The Kern club based in Bakersfield and the Central Coast Astronomical Society were very evident.
SJAA board members of special note at the star party were Jim Bartolini, who along with SJAA member Doug Hudgins, had been recommending Lake San Antonio as an observing site for the past several years. These guys know their stuff ... the place was great. Mike Koop also attended, so we had two SJAA board members. Mike was very helpful in offering suggestions and support, representing the SJAA. Thanks to these special individuals for their contributions.
Next year we will have dates picked out well in advance so more people can arrange their schedules to attend. The atmosphere was laid back, casual, friendly, and fun. The proximity to the Bay Area, 2.5 hours south of San Jose and not much further from Los Angeles, along with lots to do in the beautiful surrounding areas, makes Lake San Antonio an excellent place for this event.
Finally, kudos to the park staff at Lake San Antonio. Better, more accommodating people could not be hoped for. And, again, thanks to the SJAA, for helping make the first California Star Party a great success. I hope to see more of you there next year!
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