NWSF Information

Hobbs Observatory
Beaver Creek Reserve
Fall Creek, Wisconsin
August 18-20, 2023

Sponsored by the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society (CVAS).

Online NWSF registration and apparel order form.

Mail in NWSF registration form.

Please consider registering online to ensure we receive your registration before the event. Thank you!

Mail in NWSF apparel order form.

Join us for Northwoods Starfest (NWSF), August 18-20, 2023 at Hobbs Observatory, located in the Beaver Creek Reserve (BCR) four miles north of Fall Creek, Wisconsin.

Adults (13 and over) $95 (if received on or before 8/4/2023), $105 after 8/4/2023.

Students (5 through 12) $75

Child (under 5) No charge

Join a gathering of amateur astronomers from five states for observing, camaraderie, food, and astronomical presentations. A large field in front of the observatory to set up for observing. The skies are quite dark. Limited AC power is available for the observing field.

A swap fest is held late Saturday afternoon. Bring whatever astronomy gear you’d like to sell or swap.

There is a drawing for door prizes following the Saturday dinner (must be present to win). Door prizes donated by the following organizations (click on the image to visit the site):

In addition to the featured speakers on Friday and Saturday evenings, NWSF attendees are invited to share a short talk on Saturday afternoon. If you have something astronomical to share: a presentation, a unique telescope, or anything else that people might enjoy, we encourage you to reserve a short talk session time on Saturday afternoon. Please limit your presentation to 25 minutes maximum. If you have a short talk to share please note the title on the mail-in registration or in the comments box on the online registration.

The BCR campus offers a nature center, nature store, butterfly house, hiking trails, and an obstacle course which NWSF attendees have access to at no additional charge.

Saturday also offers an on-your-own activity to visit the Eau Claire Planet Walk in downtown Eau Claire at Phoenix Park. An excellent Farmer’s Market at the park runs until 1 pm.

In an effort to maximize NWSF attendees’ observing experience, the observatory will not be open to the general public on Saturday night as it has in past years during NWSF.

Beaver Creek Reserve has a strict pet policy: “In the interest of health and safety of all our visitors and wildlife, pets are not allowed on the Reserve.” Please leave your pets at home.

Please let us know if you have any other special needs before NWSF and we’ll do our best to accommodate them. If you have a certain dietary requirement, you are welcome to use the refrigerator/freezer and kitchen in the main lodge to store and prepare your own meals.

Registration fee includes BCR camp fees (camping, bunkhouse, or cabin accommodations – see photos below), Friday midnight snacks, Saturday brunch, Saturday dinner, Saturday midnight snacks, and Sunday breakfast.

For those wishing to stay on-site, accommodations at BCR include Cedar Lodge and five cabins. Cedar Lodge provides a common area, bathrooms, showers, and two attached bunkhouses.  Cabins do not have bathrooms, but there is a large bathroom/shower house available for all guests.  Towels/linens are not provided.

We will continue to assign the private rooms in Cedar Lodge to individuals and cabins to families or groups who are willing to share the same space. The private rooms and cabins are reserved on a first-come basis. If you are part of a group staying together in a bunkhouse or cabin, please indicate the group on the registration form under the “Special Requests”.

The east and west bunkhouses in Cedar Lodge will be a shared space, you are welcome to grab a bunk.

  • As of 05/15/2023, the following on-site accommodations have been reserved:
    • Cedar Lodge – private room 1 (Reserved – JS)
    • Cedar Lodge – private room 2 (Reserved – JH)
    • Oak Cabin (Reserved – AAS group)
    • Pine Cabin (Available)
    • Maple Cabin (Reserved – RK group)
    • Birch Cabin (Available)
    • Norway Cabin (Reserved – JN)

Tents and small campers may be set up along the edges of the observing field or in other open areas on the BCR grounds. There is a very limited amount of room for larger RVs – please let us know if you are bringing an RV. There are no RV electrical hookups.

For those who prefer more plush overnight accommodations, there are two hotels located 10 miles (15 minutes) west of BCR near the US 53/WI 312 intersection.

Cancellations will be honored through August 8th (cancellation of online registrations incurs a $0.30 cancellation charge).

NWSF apparel items are in addition to registration fees. Apparel orders must be received by Tuesday, August 1st.  A limited number of apparel items may be available for purchase at check-in. For apparel choices see the online NWSF registration page.

For more information or questions, email CVAS at: contact@cvastro.org

Special notice for Friday 8/18 – The Wildlands School will be using the observatory classroom on Friday until 4pm for a school year kick-off event. NWSF attendees are asked to not enter the observatory classroom until after 4pm. You are welcome to set up campers, tents, and telescopes in the observing field as usual.  Registration/Check-in will take place in the Main Lodge.  Bathrooms are also available in the Main Lodge.


Friday, August 18th

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Registration/Check-in (Main Lodge).

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm — Brats and hot dogs (Main Lodge). Cost is not included in the registration fee!

  • Brats: $3
  • Hot Dogs: $2
  • Soda: $.50
  • Chips: $.50

7:30 pm — Featured speaker (Main Lodge)

  • Speaker: Astro Bob (Bob King)
  • Topic:

    How to Be a Successful Aurora Chaser 

    We explore the aurora’s origin, its incredible forms, and the tools you need to make sure you don’t miss the next big show.

9:00 pm — Observing session begins.

Midnight — Snacks (Main Lodge). 11:00 pm if cloudy

Saturday, August 19th

10:00 am to 11:30 am — Brunch (Main Lodge) and registration/check-in (Main Lodge).

1:00 pm — Short talks (Main Lodge). The Short Talks schedule will be posted in the Main Lodge and Observatory Office.

4:00 pm — Swap Fest (Observatory Classroom).

5:30 pm — Dinner (Main Lodge)

  • Jambalaya

6:15 pm — Door prizes, must be present to win (Main Lodge).

7:00 pm — Group photo (Observatory Patio, Main Lodge if raining).

7:30 pm — Featured speaker (Main Lodge).

  • Speakers: John Heasley and Lynda Schweikert
  • Topic:

    Success Stories in Conserving Starry Skies

    Simple steps to preserve starry skies as amateur astronomers become effective dark sky advocates

9:00 pm — Observing session begins.

Midnight — Snacks (Main Lodge). 11:00 pm if cloudy.

Sunday, August 20th

8:00 am to 10:00 am — Breakfast (Main Lodge).

  • Blueberry pancakes, sausages, milk, juice, coffee.

Noon — Checkout