June 20 2011 by Julie Drossos
Summer solstice is coming up - June 21st to be exact! Not that the sheer fact that summer is in full swing - cue leaving work with hours of sunshine to spare, warm nights for barbecuing, playing in the park past 9 and catching late sunsets - isn't enough, but there are a lot of cool events and festivities you can partake in, in a variety of areas and communities to honor the Summer Solstice. Here are a few that are worth checking out.
Santa Barbara, California | Summer Solstice Festival and Parade
The Santa Barbara Summer Solstice festival runs from June 24-26 and takes place in Alameda Park. The parade (if you're going to the festival, the parade is a must see!) is on June 25. The parade is the largest single-day arts event in Santa Barbara and normally draws huge crowds (100,000+ spectators!) that come from all over. The celebration is a display of colorful and awesome floats, costumes and masks displayed by over 1,000 parade performers that come from many different ethnic backgrounds. Look forward to exciting drumming and lively music, dancing and more. There's also a special (and free) children's festival which this year promises to be bigger and better than ever. This event is an all-ages family event and a great way to celebrate summer!
More Information: Solstice Parade
Tip: The Santa Barbara area is gorgeous. If you're from out of town, stay a few days! The Best Western Plus Encina Lodge is less than a mile away.
Brainerd, Minnesota | Celtic Festival and Summer Solstice Celebration
If you're in the vicinity of Brainerd, Minnesota, you should definitely hit up their Celtic Festival and Summer Solstice Celebration. Head to the farm at 7579 Saint Mathias road; gates open at 11am on June 25th and admission is $8 for adults, $4 per child under 12. At the festival you'll enjoy Celtic music, blacksmithing, spinning, stone cutting and sheep shearing demonstrations. There are plenty of activities for kids including story telling and a kiddie carnival. Lots of great food to east on as well!
More Information: Saint Mathias Celtic Festival
Tip: Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets for relaxing on the grass in the afternoon sun.
Eugene, Oregon | Summer Solstice Celebration at Sweet Cheeks Winery
The beautiful Sweet Cheeks Winery with its breathtaking views is hosting their annual Summer Solstice celebration on June 21st. Admission is only $10 per person and festivities begin at 7pm. Be entertained by Live Reggae by Norma Fraser followed by exciting fire dancers to welcome in the night! This event is family friendly however in my opinion is more suited to couples.
More Information: Sweet Cheeks Winery
Tip: You are welcome to bring your own picnic dinner, kind of a fun idea for a warm summer's night.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada | Summer Solstice Holistic Health and Wellness Expo
Canada is celebrating the Summer Solstice as well! For something different, head to Burlington, Ontario and check out their Holistic Health and Wellness Expo on June 25th. The show takes place at the Holiday Inn Convention Centre from 10am to 4pm, and admission is actually free provided you bring a non-perishable food donation to the Halton FareShare Food Bank, or a donation of a knitted item, toiletries, gift cards of cash to the Acts of Kindness Network.
The show includes exhibitors, speakers and demonstrations on a variety of holistic health and wellness topics. It's a step towards feeling better and having more awareness around healthy lifestyle choices and options for healing. There are opportunities for prizes and contests as well as the chance to partake in various product demonstrations.
More Information: Holistic Wellness Festival
Tip: the Best Western Plus is literally right there and you can find rates for as low as $109!
Whatever you do and however you celebrate the Summer Solstice of 2011, be grateful for this beautiful planet we live on and let the sun shine in!