Yuri's Night "global space parties" happen from April 4-12.

( Image above: Aaron Muszalski, shot by Scott Beale, at Yuri's night 2007.)

The annual celebration of space travel known as the "Yuri's Night World Space Parties" happens this year on Saturday April 4, 2009.

The events, which take place in cities around the world each April, celebrate humanity's achievements in space. The parties mark the anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's orbital spaceflight, which was the human race's first foray into space (on April 12, 1961) and the first space Shuttle flight (on April 12, 1981). More than 150 events will take place this year on planet Earth.

I co-hosted one of the parties in Dallas, Texas, once, as the pic at left documents. Drunken cosmomauts (no, they were not drinking cosmopolitans) branded me with the head of Yuri Gagarin.

More about the Washington, DC edition of this event, from Yuri's Night global organizer Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, the lovely and brilliant space diva who will be hosting that particular location's festivities:

The party this year at Goddard features live music from regional music stars Middle Distance Runner. Listen to multi-layered, indie-pop sounds through exploded views of galaxies and NASA exhibits. Dance next to the rocket garden to beats infused by DJ Scientific. A series of activities are guaranteed to entertain including NASA heavy hitters guiding you though space in the Science on a Sphere theater. Galactic attire is encouraged, silver, antennae, glow in the dark, sci-fi. Participants must be at least 21 years old and bring a valid ID. Beer, wine, and refreshments will be available for purchase and water, soda and chips provided.

Food Network will also feature a 2.5 ft high Hubble Space Telescope cake made for the occasion on their TV show 'Ace of Cakes' about Baltimore's own Charm City Cakes bakery and 500 lucky guests will get to sample Charm City's finest as we celebrate Goddard Space Flight Center's 50th Anniversary.

More info on events in all of the participating cities (I believe admission is $10 or less at each) is right here.