Celebrating the Solstice

In case you’re unaware, we’re quickly approaching the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice.

If you’re interested in brushing up on your knowledge of our planet’s orbit, this article does a great job of explaining the science behind Friday’s upcoming season changer. While many focus on the evening lasting longer, I’ve been made acutely aware of the earlier sunrise times this time of the year. Thanks, chatty birds!

As we say goodbye to our rainy spring and welcome summer there are an array of activities and events over the next couple of days designed to get you outdoors and enjoying as many hours of daylight as are available. Looking for a way to celebrate the solstice locally, or even a bit further afield, and release your inner Pagan? I’ve got some ideas for you!

Tomorrow, June 20:

Alive at Five with Slick Rick the Ruler – Jennings’ Landing 5:00 p.m. Keep an eye on the weather for this weekly concert series, as the rain location is under the echo-inducing 787 highway. (NOTE: The rain location is a definite at this point).

Considered by many to be among the finest pizza purveyors in the tri-city area, DeFazio’s crosses the river to pair their pizza with Nine-Pin’s fab array of locally sourced and pressed ciders. Cider, Fire & Za with Defazio’s – Nine-Pin Cidery 5:00 p.m.

Release your inner voyeur and get a peek at some of Albany’s loveliest home and gardens at this tour presented by the Center Square and Hudson/Park neighborhood associations. Last I heard, they were still seeking volunteer docents to assist. Interested? Email Kimberly at Historic Albany, (kparker@historic-albany.org), for a chance to lend a hand. The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

Pride month continues! Enjoy networking and small batch liquors at this event in the Warehouse District. Mixer #2 at Albany Distilling Co: Pride Biz Alliance 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The Night at the Museum fundraiser for Catholic Charities features “gourmet cuisine stations beer, wine, champagne and a silent auction.” Who knows? Maybe the Cohoes Mastadon will even join the party! New York State Museum 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Join local, regional and national poets at this open mic. Perhaps you have a haiku or two to share? Third Thursday Poetry Night – The Albany Social Justice Center 7:30 p.m.

Friday, June 21:

Saratoga Balloon & BBQ Fest events begin at 3:00 p.m. and continue all weekend. There are lots of activities and ticket options with food vendors, helicopter rides and a repeated magic show.

Get out on the mighty Hudson and enjoy drinks and the beautiful Albany skyline. Summer Solstice Sunset Cruise on the Dutch Apple – 141 Broadway 6:30 – 10:00 p.m.

Death Cab for Cutie – Brewery Ommegang 7:00 p.m. It’s a bit of a drive, so why not grab a camping spot and make a real night of it? The food and beer is always solid and this band doesn’t come around these parts very often.

Free Movies Under the Stars – Mary Poppins Returns! – College of St. Rose 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. This film received good reviews and would make a perfect family night out. Pack a thermos with an adult beverage. Your secret is safe with us.

A Midsummers Night’s Dream – Prospect Park 8:00 p.m. It might be my upcoming trip to Greece that makes this play particularly appealing, or maybe it’s that English degree of mine. Either way, I’m going to try to catch a performance of this classic Shakespeare work.

Grab your dancing shoes and end your night downtown with DJ Citrus. Don’t forget – a personal pizza comes with every drink ordered. Midnight snack, anyone? Fresh Squeeze Friday Dance Party – City Beer Hall 11:00 pm – 2:00 a.m.

As for me, I’ll be taking part in the annual Summer Solstice Run this evening down in the Mohonk Preserve outside of New Paltz. This nearly 10-mile trail race, limited to just 300 runners, is a favorite event for me and my running partners. The views and the mountain laurel are always spectacular and well worth the effort.

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