Yuri’s Night began in 2001 with 64 parties held around the world in remembrance of two important dates in space exploration history: April 12, 1961, the day of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned spaceflight, and April 12, 1981, the inaugural launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle.
The event has only grown in numbers in both parties and attendants. In 2011, over 100,000 people at 567 official parties celebrated the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight by attending a Yuri’s Night celebration.
The goal of Yuri’s Night is to increase public interest in space exploration and to inspire a new generation of space explorers.
This past Saturday, April 13, 2013, the Great Lakes Science Center held a Yuri’s Night party of their own. The second annual bash was one of 280 parties happening worldwide this year and featured live music, drinks, a costume contest (with the winner Captain William Riker from Star Trek), and dancing all night long.
Columbus-based band The Floorwalkers kicked off the party, playing a variety of classic rock and roll favorites, along with a selection of their own tunes. Following up on The Floorwalker’s performance was DJ OZMTZ, a Chicago-born DJ currently taking the Cleveland electronic music scene by storm. He kept the energy going and the dance floor packed until the very end of the night!
All of the Sam Adams beer, Angry Orchard cider, and Barefoot wine you could drink was included in the ticket price, so there was no reason to be thirsty! Along with the included drinks, there was also a cash bar available for those who desired specialty cocktails, and trays of Jello shots floating around for those who felt like purchasing something a tad more fun.
Light hors d’oeuvres were included in the ticket price as well, which included two large spreads of finger foods like miniature corn dogs, tater tots, cheese, crackers, chips, and more.
The entire Science Center was open for party goers to explore, including the new NASA Glenn Visitor Center. The new center gave visitors an exciting peek at what it’s like to live and work on the International Space Station, as well as providing artifacts from John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mission, a multimedia trip through important moments in space history, a model of a Mercury capsule, and much more. All of the other fun, hands on exhibits were open as well, giving visitors the chance to check out over 100 neat experiments.
The Lost Egypt exhibit opened up for an hour too, giving party goers a look into the exciting world of mummies, Egyptian art, and ancient artifacts.
Around midnight as the party was still going strong, the dance floor got an exciting surprise: a balloon drop! Hundreds of teal balloons fell from the top floor of the Science Center–a perfect finale to a great evening.
The Great Lakes Science Center really outdid itself with the 2013 Yuri’s Night celebration! This Cleveland tribute to the history of space exploration is the perfect combination of space-themed fun and science education.