The Summer Solstice has long been a day to celebrate. Not only is it the longest day of the year, but it also marks the official beginning of summer. While festivals and celebrations date back to ancient pre-Christian traditions, there are still plenty of opportunities to rejoice today. Find out where you can celebrate the Summer Solstice around the country, and even at Stonehenge.
The Summer Solstice Celebration in Santa Barbara is so big it goes on for three days. June 20th will start the celebration with performers onstage in Alameda Park all night. On June 21st, a parade features more than 1,000 participants, with floats and choreographed dances, all in flamboyant and fanciful costumes. June 22nd will end the celebration with more onstage performances.
In New York City, hundreds of people will gather in Times Square to be led in hour-long yoga sessions that go throughout the day. This is so popular that every spot has already been booked, but the official site explains that cancellations often happen, so signing up on the wait list won’t be futile. The featured yoga will be Vinyasa, Bikram, and Power styles.
The Downtown Summer Solstice in Anchorage celebrates the few sunny, warm days of Alaska with thousands of people. Beyond the usual festival fare of booths and food, they’re planning a demo of professional skateboarders as well as the Hero Games, where first responders create teams and challenge each other to obstacle courses, bucket brigades, and different relays.
Just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina is Greensboro, whose arboretum will host the Greensboro Summer Solstice. Six thousand people come to “Don [their] faerie wings and glitter and meander through this midsummer night’s dream.” The festival in on June 21st from 2 to 10 pm and includes face painting, dancing, drums, and fire dancing.
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is going to be full of a wide variety of groups on June 20th and 21st as they focus on various religious and spiritual practices during the night, heating up to the celebration of sunrise. Authorities expect the parking to be crowded, so get there before 7 pm on June 20th, when the parking lot opens.
Denver will have a city bike ride in early July, starting at 5:45 pm. It’s free and meant to be a large, calm ride through the city, beneath the long sunset. Once you’re done riding, there’ll be a post-ride picnic with food vendors and beer for extra relaxation.
Santa Monica will host a 13-block festival from June 21st to the 22nd with multiple stages and an emphasis on sidewalk sales. If you purchase a “Heal The Bay” wristband and wear it to participating merchants through the month of June, you will get 10 percent off your purchase.
For more unique and quirky festivals around the country, check out:
- 4 Can’t-Miss Southern Food Festivals
- 2014 Summer Theater Festivals Worth Visiting
- Beyond Coachella: 5 Music Festivals Across the U.S.
By Cody Brooks for PeterGreenberg.com