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Preparations For Yuri's Night 2009 Underway

With exactly two months left until the traditional start of Yuri's Night, party hosts around the world are beginning to kick into high gear. Yurisnight.net, the centerpiece of the annual celebration of space exploration, recently put the finishing touches on their 2009 website with the addition of a merchandise page and an official party listing. As of February 12th, 58 parties in 22 countries on every continent except for Antarctica had been officially registered. Although estimates for a final party count have not been released, Yuri's Night featured 198 registered parties in 2008 (and dozens of unregistered events) and has shown consistent growth in recent years.

Yuri's Night logo

Since its creation in 2001, Yuri's Night has traditionally been held on April 12th, the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first manned launch into space and the maiden launch of the Space Shuttle. This year, however, April 12 happens to fall on Easter, raising the possibility of attendance and scheduling conflicts for many Yuri's Night events. Rather than move the celebration of Yuri's Night for all events, even those in countries where Easter is not widely celebrated, the Yuri's Night team decided to make 2009 a “Yuri's Week”, giving parties the option of holding events anywhere between April 4th and April 12th. Registrations of events to date indicate that a majority of parties are still being held on April 11th and 12th.

Yuri's Night partiers in Los Angeles

The flagship Yuri's Night event, Yuri's Night Bay Area, will be returning to provide a space party for the masses for the third consecutive year. This year's event will be held on Wednesday, April 9th, at the newly-remodeled California Academy of Sciences. Although details are still being planned, last year's event featured game creator Will Wright, Tesla Motors, and music performances by Freezepop and Phil Lesh to a crowd of thousands. Events have been registered in New York City, Washington, DC, Milan, Stuttgart, Tehran, Hyderabad, Dhaka, and Bangladesh, amongst many other cities. Yuri's Night is also working with the International Year of Astronomy project, and will be seeking to host IYA-related events at Yuri's Night parties—and vice versa.

Further Yuri's Night updates can be found on the website's blog and now, for the first full year, on the Yuri's Night Twitter feed (@yurisnight).

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