Solstice Arrived a Day Early, But Events Still Planned
Long winter means joy for first day of summer
ANCHORAGE - Did you know Wednesday was summer solstice? Or did you think it was Thursday, June 21? Officially summer started around 3:09 p.m. Alaska Standard Time Wednesday, but if you talk to most Alaskans, they weren’t prepared for it to begin.
You would think after a record-breaking winter most Alaskans would have the first day of summer planned out. But it turns out most people don't know the exact date of the longest day of this year.
CBS 11's Chief Meteorologist Brett Shepard says the solstice explanation is simple. “That's kind of when the earth starts tilting back the opposite direction, where we start unfortunately losing sunlight beginning Wednesday.” Brett says the solstice fell on June 20 this year because this is a leap year, and the extra day in February pushed it up a day.
So Moose's Tooth held its popular solstice celebration Wednesday. “I guess it’s time to celebrate the day and enjoy the most sunshine that we can get,” said Moose’s Tooth general manager Dan Fiacco. This year's celebration featured the music of Michael Franti and Spearhead – good times and good music that have been in the works since January. “Solstice only comes once a year and we like to have a party because it’s been a long winter and everybody wants to get out and have some fun,” said Fiacco.
But there are still the diehards like the John Bagoy Summer Solstice Cemetery guides Audrey and Bruce Kelly. For 18 years, this is how the Kelly’s have celebrated solstice, showcasing the city's early history through a cemetery tour. “It has never rained on us,” said Audrey Kelly, who said no matter when solstice is, they give the evening tour on June 21. “There's a lot of history in that cemetery and we're enjoying to continue to share that.”
Tourists and Alaskans are making the most of every second because it won't be long until summer is a memory and we'll have to start planning for summer solstice all over again. “A lot of Alaskans brave the winter, I guess its all downhill from here,” said Fiacco. With solstice falling on a Wednesday this year, most of the events in town are going to be this weekend, including the Downtown Summer Solstice Festival and the Mayor's Midnight Run, which both will be on Saturday.