The longest day of the year is almost here.
Friday, June 21, is the summer solstice, the time when the earth has the greatest tilt from the sun. That makes the sun appear at its highest elevation, at least for everyone north of the Tropic of Cancer.
Exactly how many hours of sunlight you’ll see depends on where you live. At Lancaster County’s latitude, the sun is visible for 15 hours and 1 minute during the solstice.
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The summer solstice has been celebrated for centuries. It’s possible Stonehenge, built in 3000 BC, marked solstices and equinoxes. Ancient cultures thanked higher powers as crops began to ripen. That celebration continues into modern times, with events like Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
Here are eight ways to spend the solstice in and around Lancaster County.
Cycle the solstice
The Cycle the Solstice bicycle ride is Saturday, June 22 to benefit the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education in Hellam. Pick a 30- or 62-mile bike ride through York and Lancaster counties.
Join Kundalini Yoga for a free meditation session, Friday, June 21, in Long’s Park from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Take a summer solstice yoga class. Yoga United at Brighton will have a class with 108 sun salutations outdoors, Friday, June 21 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $18.
Take a hike
Friday, June 21, 6-7:30 p.m., Naturalist Mary Ann Schlegel with Lancaster County Parks, will lead a hike along the Hammer Creek, past the wetlands, and over the hills of this county park. Dress for the weather and to hike several miles on rocky and hilly trails. Bring water. Meet at the trailhead parking lot at 480 Speedwell Forge Road, Lititz 17543. Register online or call 717-295-2055 to register by noon on Thursday. $3 per person. Ages 6 and older.
Take a mindful hike
Saturday, June 22, 9-10 a.m., Naturalist Kristyn Small with Lancaster County Parks, will lead a walking meditation and guide participants in sensory awareness in this introductory practice in mindfulness that building on the tenets of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Meet at the Garden of Five Senses Patio in Lancaster County Central Park, 40 Pontz Drive, Lancaster. Register online or call 717-295-2055 to register by noon on Friday. $2 per person. Ages 15 and older.
Walk the Labyrinth
Join the walking meditation Thursday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. (rain or shine) in the Labyrinth of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 301 St. Thomas Road, Lancaster, with Carmel Stabley, certified labyrinth facilitator. Share music and refreshments around the ceremonial fire pit. Tickets are $15.
Toast the solstice (plus science)
Lancaster County Brewers Club will hold a summer solstice beer festival Tuesday, June 25 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Lancaster Science Factory. Sample homebrewed beer, from an double chocolate stout to an IPA with foraged violets and lemon, and try hands-on science experiments. Tickets are $20.
Say good-bye to Mio Studio
A summer solstice gathering on Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate Mio Studio, 154 N. Prince St., Lancaster. The business will close at the end of July for owners Erica Millner and Mai Orama Muñiz to start a tour of art shows and events around the country. The party will have lite fare and summer cocktails.