Imagine a hill in the countryside, with the Sun dipping below the horizon and the sky an amazing mix of pinks and orange. Around you are a dozen or more telescopes, ready to search the sky. The owners of those telescopes may or may not know each other as the night begins, but they will certainly become fast friends before the next dawn. Even if you have not brought your own scope, you are warmly welcomed to take a look at every one of those instruments as their proud owners show off their favorite targets. Welcome to a star party.
Many groups sponsor annual gatherings in the night. The grand daddy of all star parties is Stellafane, held in Springfield Vermont in late summer. Here’s a link to the group’s website. This is a pilgrimage that all long-time amateur astronomers will shoot for.