Star parties are event with all night deep sky observations and chance to meet other fellow amateur astronomers. The first one of the year at East Coast is happening this weekend at Hope, NJ. There's usually crowd of 20-30 people with all level of skills. You can try all sorts of telescopes (some as large as 17") and instruments for deep sky CCD observations and so on. There are going to be day time events, talks and presentations and sun spot watching! If you missed this, there is 3 more popular star parties coming up this year. Check the event calander at S&T site. You can see some photographs I took of last year's star parties.