…….. They will usually make a bigger meal for dinner, this usually sells out by early in the evening. They will serve food and coffee late into the evening and, if it is clear at night and people keep buying stuff they will be open until after midnight. …..
Two or three years ago the 1,200 people who showed up for the Park's Saturday Evening "Public Event" (held in the short-term stargazing area North of the road, not the main astronomy field) -- spied the food vendor on "our side" and a huge crowd of them walked across the road and hit the place. Talking to the vendor the next morning -- they had no expectation of feeding over twice as many people - and complained that the Park Rangers had not informed them of the possibility. They had to scramble to try and get enough food.
The Park now tries to limit these free Public Programs to 400 participants - and they no longer (at least officially) allow them to wonder around on the Astronomy Field after the program up until 11pm. The new Park Management became worried about 1,000+ people wondering across a State Highway (55mph) in the dark, without safety guards. Some long-time CSSP attendees have celebrated and some have bemoaned the end of the "Saturday Evening Public" session.
Note that there are something like 30 primitive campsites on the North side - and many of those folks 'wonder' over to the Astronomy Field after dark. Most are 'young folks' -- in their 20's. Those 30 sites were often empty during the week, and had maybe 2 or 3 filled on weekends -- before all the NY Times, etc, articles about Cherry Springs. In recent years - they are 100% filled most of the Summer - and it is a 'fight' to get a reservation. Funny Antidote: One Park Ranger told me "We always get complaints from people camping under the full moon! Why can't I see the Milky Way? The news paper said I could see it!!"
Getting back to food: If you drive West out of the park, there is a nice dinner in Sweden Valley that has very good breakfasts -- and there is "Bar" a little further that has an excellent 'fish special' on Friday night. You will see both places full of CSSP attendees - and astronomers in general at other times. Figure on an hour and a half round trip (including eating time) - and a very pretty ride. Just cover your stuff (don't leave out any eyepieces or DSLRs) and drive out - and back before dark.
Edited by George N, 15 April 2019 - 10:28 AM.