Irrespective of "whether or not" there is such a thing as Climate Change or Global Warming the weather is very fluid and quite unpredictable. The only thing we can count on is that it changes and predicting it is often wrong.
Our star party, the Deep South Star Gaze, is held in the fall for a number of reasons, chief of which is the statistical probability of cooler temperatures and often drier air and clearer skies. We have been holding the DSSG now for 37 years and our history does tell us that over the long term our rationale for holding the DSSG when we do does remain valid. (Our date criteria is simply 5 days centered on "new Moon" and ending on a weekend in the period between mid-October and mid-November). Over the years we have had very few, perhaps only one or two star gazes that most would consider to be totally a bust in terms of the weather and it can be argued that none of them were totally clouded out. This however is not a consolation to those that have attended DSSG's and their schedule seems to always be such that the dates that they are planning on attending happen to be the cloudy days and nights.
In recent years it seems that at least half of the star gaze dates are essentially no good for astronomical observation. Our most recent DSSG is a good example of one in which we had both really good days and nights and really bad days and nights. For those that attended beginning on Tuesday they probably felt (especially if they left on Thursday) that this was a good DSSG with great observing (which it was on Tuesday and Wednesday). For those that adjusted their stay and moved their arrival up to Tuesday, they made the right decision. Unfortunately some could not do this and they found that observing was impossible, except for some periods of solar observing on Thursday and some brief periods of fleeting deep sky observing on Saturday evening.
So what, if anything, can we do to maximize quality time under the stars whereever a star party is held?
If possible, and the venue is agreeable, have flexible dates. We are, to a large extent, an aging group. Many are now retired so locking in dates is not as critical as it was during our working years. For others still working you may be surprised as to how flexible your schedule may be if you ask and plan ahead. At the very least if the club or organizer of an event can schedule an event during good weather, the weekend may be ok if your drive is not too far. We are doing just that for our "Spring Scrimmage next year with 4 possible 3 night runs running from just past Last Quarter Moon to just beyond New Moon from mid April to mid May. As we get close to the first set of dates, typically when we are about a week out, I will look at the forecast to see if that first set of dates is viable weather-wise. I will ask to see who wants to and can attend. At 5 days out we will make a "go or no go" decision. As our head count will be smaller there will be no meals at our venue, except for maybe the evening snack bar. Lunch can be covered by eating at the Country Diner or somewhere else and I am sure all will have snacks and drinks to satisfy your morning hunger pains. On a good night some will be sleeping late anyway. What our venue will get will be what we pay for our bunk space. Note - given good weather some may choose to arrive earlier or stay longer. We may have additional flexibility.
If for some reason none of the 4 date possibilities work out that will be what it is. This may punch the ticket for some of you to attend another function or to plan a trip somewhere else.
For any events - past, present or into the future - as I said before and I will say again - in keeping with long standing policy for both for our events, other similar star parties, other types of events and the policies for our venue and our previous venues - When you pay you registration and fees for lodging and meals, I turn our head count and revenues received into the venue. This past year I advised here that a good idea would be to pay for a bunk for just a few nights and to really consider what you wanted to do about meals as the venue has some flexibility to add meals. Doing this minimizes loss for anyone who ultimately does not attend or who cuts out earlier. Many heeded my advice and they had no financial loss or very little. Some changed their schedule to take advantage of our good days and nights. However some paid for everything and either did not attend at all, maybe left early or came only after the bad weather settled in. Consider all the scenarios when scheduling your time away at events.
Other suggestions will be much appreciated.