The longest day of the year, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, is quickly approaching. The Summer Solstice, a celebrated day by cultures from around the world, is an infamous day for Alaskan residents, located close to the Arctic Circle. The Summer Solstice is a day of “never-ending sunlight,” with twilight sun viewing opportunities in the northern portion of the state.
On the longest day of the year, Anchorage gets 22 hours of functional daylight, and the city makes the most of all of that sun. It’s a day for nonstop celebration, with a plethora of activities to take part in under the shimmering Arctic sun. Alaskans gather for the big celebrations, classic events, and the huge dosage of outdoor fun that includes hiking, biking, concerts, and festivals.
Starting on June 17, downtown Anchorage transforms into the Solstice Festival & Hero Games, which is an Anchorage Downtown Partnership production. The festival takes over Fourth Avenue and Town Square with artists, musicians, and other performers that bring the party to life. Nearby is the Children’s Rainbow Factory, which hosts puppet shows, a kayak pool, and giant sandbox.
Nearby, the city’s heroes– firefighters, police, and military personnel– test their mettle in competitions at the Hero Games. Events include stretcher carry races, and ladder rescue all of which mirror the responsibilities of a first responder.
For the outdoor adventurers, out on Anchorage’s trail system, one of Alaska’s most popular running races will hit full stride. The races include the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon, as well as a five-miler and marathon relay. All of the races have incredible views, with most racers spotting at least one or two moose along their excursion.
If you’re not a fleet-footed runner, Flattop Mountain is a great spot for all hikers to get in a view of the city below. The Solstice is a special time on Flattop, with many hikers holding informal parties at the summit, or even setting up overnight camp to celebrate the never-ending daylight.