Mars Exploration Days Celebrates the Planet Mars in Mars, PA

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on June 13, 2019.

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We love unusual festivals and events in Pittsburgh, and when we heard about Mars Exploration Days, hosted in the borough of Mars, we knew we had to check it out when it came back around in early June.

This one was everything we hoped for, and then some.

Mars Exploration Days Have a Lot Going On

Eart Wind and Fire Tribute Band

Before visiting Mars Exploration Days, I really wasn't sure what to expect. A festival about Mars, in Mars, won me over enough as it is, but I didn't know how much you could pack into three days with that idea. As it turns out, they can do quite a lot!

Martian Rover at Mars Exploration Days

What all can you check out at the Mars Exploration Days Festival? Well, in 2019 the event included the following:


  • Video Chat with JPL researchers
  • Mars Costume Contest
  • Live Music by an Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute Band
  • Firefly Drone Show


  • Presentations by NASA Scientists
  • Drone Demonstration
  • Live Music by the Gothees Band


  • Presentations by NASA Scientists
  • Awards for Meet the Mars Challenge
  • Live Music by the Sarah James Project

Children's Projects at Mars Festival

Going beyond the presentations, music, and drone show, the festival also has a student competition where local kids try to solve a problem astronauts may face on Mars, as well as many booths that are manned by NASA scientists, food vendors, and beer from nearby Stick City Brewing. In 2019, the NASA booths featured the Mars rover, drones, and even a virtual reality simulation with headsets that take you to the surface of Mars!

But perhaps my favorite exhibit of all was for TheMoon Ark– a miniature museum going to the moon in a few years featuring many aspects of life on Earth crammed into one tiny art piece. When it lands it'll be the first of its kind on the moon and was created right in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University!

Suffice it to say, if you are a lover of all things NASA, science, or the red planet of Mars, a visit to Mars Exploration Days is for you.

Plan Your Visit Accordingly

Mars, PA, UFO Statue

Now, if the above sounds like a lot to take in during a three-day festival, you would be right!

In fact, as far as festivals are concerned this one was a bit more themed on a day-by-day basis. If you are interested in the science side of things, the presentations on Saturday or Sunday are your best bet. If you are interested in more of a festival ambiance, Friday has traditional festival elements while also giving time to see some of the NASA exhibits all the same.

Mars Exploration Days Exhibit

But if you really want to get a great cross-section of it all, you'll need to visit both on Friday (for the festival events) and on either Saturday or Sunday (for the technical presentations). This is the only way to really see everything that Mars Exploration Days has to offer, and for a multi-day festival, we're just fine with that!

The Mars Exploration Days festival typically occurs in Mars, PA, each June.

For those who want even more Mars fun, be sure to check out the Mars New Year Blast Off Dinner which occurs on or around the Martian New Year- every 687 days!

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