5 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Featured Article, Seasonal, Traditions
on June 21, 2013

In the Northern Hemisphere, June 21st is the first official day of summer. It’s also commonly called the “longest day,” given that it has the most sunlight within 24 hours of any day in the year. This happens because on June 21st, the Northern Hemisphere is pointed most directly at the sun, thus being exposed to sunlight for a considerable part of its 24-hour rotation.

Here are some of our ideas for the best ways to spend the first day of summer:

Go Skateboarding Day: According to goskateboardingday.org, June 21st is a day when “skateboarders around the globe celebrate the pure exhilaration, creativity, and spirit of one of the most influential activities in the world by blowing off all other obligations to go skateboarding.” Skaters of all skill levels are encouraged to do just that: go out and enjoy all that sunlight with a day packed full of skateboarding!

Midnight Sun Baseball Game: Played in Fairbanks, Alaska, home of the collegiate summer baseball team The Alaska Goldpanners, the Midnight Sun Baseball Game is a tradition over 100 years old. A true celebration of the summer solstice, the game usually begins around 10:35pm and is played entirely in sunlight—no artificial lights necessary! For more information, visit goldpanners.com.

Louisiana Peach Festival: This celebration of bayou culture in Ruston, La. is a weekend jam-packed with concerts, sporting events, cooking and eating contests, and many other activities for visitors of all ages. The official website, louisianapeachfestival.com, declares that this weekend-long party is “peachy keen,” and the average attendance of about 20,000 is sure to agree.

Newport Flower Show: The quintessential coastal New England town of Newport, R.I., is home to this summertime celebration of the region’s long, proud tradition of tasteful horticulture. A weekend complete with beautiful judged flower arrangements and demonstrations in the garden markets alongside some of the most famous oceanfront mansions in the country, the Newport Flower Show is the perfect excuse to get away for a weekend and enjoy the sunlight. Visit newportflowershow.org for more information.

World’s Ugliest Dog Contest: This “all day dog party” draws thousands of dogs and their owners to Petaluma, California to compete in an audience-judged beauty, or lack thereof, contest. Animal Planet is sure to be covering the 25th Anniversary celebration of this can’t-miss event held at the Petaluma Fairgrounds. To learn more about the contest, visit sonoma-marinfair.org/worlds-ugliest-dog.

If none of these events suit your solstice fancy, you can celebrate the longest day of the year with celebrities, whose birthdays are on June 21st:

Prince William: The Duke of Cambridge will most likely be celebrating his 31st birthday in anticipation of the arrival of he and wife Catherine Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, which is due sometime around July 13.

Jean-Paul Sartre: The father of modern existentialism, who died in 1980, would probably not have wanted much fanfare around the 108th anniversary of his birth, and indeed might rather have been “left alone, without excuse.”

Brandon Flowers: The lead singer of Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers is spending the summer on the road, touring behind the band’s new album “Battle Born.” He will probably be celebrating his 32nd birthday preparing for his show at London’s massive Wembley Stadium, where the Killers are set to perform on June 22nd.

Chris Pratt: Actor and comedian of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” fame will turn 34 years old this June 21st. You can catch him in blockbuster hit and Oscar contender “Zero Dark Thirty,” which is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray.