Location scouting, day 2: Breede River Valley (Astronomy Month 2008)

posted: 3315 days ago, on Wednesday, 2008 Sep 24 at 19:31
tags: astronomy, outreach, Astronomy Month 2008, SAASTA, Ed Foster.

Today's road trip took us inland, to the beautiful Breede River Valley.

Ed and I stopped at the Rambling Rose in Montagu for breakfast, and then at 09:47 we met with Annette van der Berg at the tourism office. We were not disappointed she was as enthusiastic and helpful as yesterday's encounters. Our day activities (on Friday, October 31) will be in front of the OK Grocers, and the evening's star party will be near the Ashbury suburb in the industrial area. One of two venues are likely: the terrain of the Montagu Youth Project, or a nearby community complex. I favour the latter venue as it has a lovely lawn behind the main building. The building itself has a restaurant and lecture room, and seems ideal. The idea here is that the local tannies can set up a vetkoek and coffee stand, and sell their wares to the hungry and cold star gazers. In this way, a token job-creation effort, and further community involvement, is fostered. And the venue lends itself to that very well.

From Montagu we set out for Barrydale where we were to meet with Enver of the local tourism authority. I immediately took a liking to him when he invited us for lunch. Enver accompanied us to meet Elsa of Watercourt Lodge (at 12:07), where we sat on the stoep and discussed what we had in mind for them. We plan to visit them on Saturday, November 1; the day's events will be in front of the OK in Van Riebeeck Street, and the evening's star party will be along the main road, in front of the Watercourt Lodge. A gang of noisome Harley-Davidson's was the only brown note during the discussions.

From Barrydale we set off for Ashton to meet Vernon, the tourism contact in the town. We sat down to koek en tee (at 16:20) and made our pitch. Ashton is a small dorpie, most of it stretched out along one road. But the community is sizeable, and Vernon assured us that there would be more than enough interest in an astronomy outreach. We still need to finalize the venues for Ashton (for October 18) because it seems there is very little infrastructure so we will have to rely on a church hall (of which there are several) for a spot. Vernon noted that the town goes dead around 10:00 on a Saturday morning, with the most activity at the ABSA/Pep Stores corner, and at the Multisave at the other end of town. The best bet would be to choose a single venue for both day and night activities, and we await Vernon's verdict.

Thoroughly pleased with what we'd accomplished in the past two days, we set off home. Thousands of flyers, brochures and posters now have to be finalized, press releases written, planispheres made, star charts printed, space craft models duplicated and built, tables and chairs acquired, poster-pillars constructed and that's just off the top of my head. In six days, it's National Astronomy Month.

Our amended schedule is as follows:

  1. Fri, Oct 3: Velddrif
  2. Sat, Oct 4: Groendorp/West Coast Fossil Park
  3. Fri, Oct 10: Piketberg
  4. Sat, Oct 11: Moorreesburg
  5. Fri, Oct 17: (Robertson, provisional)
  6. Sat, Oct 18: Ashton
  7. Fri, Oct 31: Montagu
  8. Sat, Nov 01: Barrydale

Slide show

 Montagu Tourism Office.  [click to start slide show]

nothing more to see. please move along.