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Three Summer Solstice Celebrations to Welcome the Season

June 21, 2011 at 8:29 AM | by | ()

Today is going to be a long day—literally—as the sun does its thing in the northern hemisphere longer than any other day this year. All that sunshine brings out the crazy and fun in people across the country, and there are plenty of festivals and gatherings to celebrate the season. Here’s just three of the best that you can attend this week and this weekend:

· Skandia Folkdance Society's Midsommarfest:
Citizens of the Seattle area are ready to celebrate the summer solstice this weekend along with their Swedish heritage at this year’s Midsommarfest. The area’s Skandia Folkdance Society is responsible for the seasonal celebration this weekend, as visitors and locals are invited to welcome the arrival of summer at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington.

The fun begins around 11am local time on Sunday, June 26 with plenty of music, folk dancing, flower crowns, and food; however, the main event happens at about 2:30 in the afternoon. That’s when the grand parade is in full swing and everyone gathers around to witness the raising of the majstång—that’s the garlanded midsommar pole and not something from IKEA. Admission to the event is free, as is parking, so if you’re in the area and want to celebrate a little summer and a little Scandinavia this is probably a must see.

· Wisteria Summer Solstice:
Over towards the middle of the country, the Wisteria Summer Solstice gathering lasts through June 26. Organizers describe the event as a weeklong magical village set up to celebrate the eco-spiritual culture, so definitely bring an open mind and try not to roll your eyes too much.

Expect plenty of music across several different stages along with dances, bonfire drumming, and stuff for the little ones. We’re most interested in the Nighttime Candle Labyrinth. It’s supposed to be a personal meditative journey of transformation and reflection—their words not ours—but we just think it’s fun to walk around at night between lots of candles. The only downer here is that it’s definitely not free, and there are no one-day passes or similar discounts. You need to be really into fire spinning and yoga, because registering for the week-long event will set you back $175.

· Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration:
Outside of Europe the biggest and best celebration of the summer season has to be the offerings in Santa Barbara, California. This year’s Summer Solstice Celebration runs from June 24 through June 26, and the main event—the jungle-theme parade—takes place on Saturday, June 25. This is the first time that the event has been stretched across the whole weekend, but after almost more than forty years of the event, organizers definitely have enough to fill each and every day.

Most of the entertainment and fun is focused in and around Alameda Park, as that’s where most of the musical acts—including a drum circle on Saturday—do their thing as well as where some of the parade participants prepare for their march. Along with welcoming in the next three months of the year, there will also be arts and crafts vendors alongside plenty of food booths complete with beer and wine. Over 100,000 people are expected to attend this weekend—thanks in part to free admission—however, there are some VIP parade seats available starting at $50 per person juts in case crowds aren’t your thing.

[Photos: Skandia Midsommarfest and Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration via tompics47 ]

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