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Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Fairbanks, Alaska

A Guide to Fairbanks, Alaska

    With summer days nearly 24 hours long and temperatures in the 80s and 90s, Fairbanks is the place to celebrate summer solstice on June 21 each year. The Midnight Sun shines on a variety of activities throughout the town including sports, festivals and music.

    One of the most popular solstice activities on June 21 is the Midnight Sun Baseball Game played by Fairbanks own semi-pro team, the Goldpanners. Beginning at 10:30 p.m. with no artificial lights, the game is a long-standing tradition from the gold-rush days. In 93 years, the game has never been postponed or delayed due to darkness. It draws the largest crowd of the season as fans cheer on their team well past midnight.

    For the more athletic visitors can participate in the Midnight Sun Run beginning at 10 p.m. on June 17. The 10K race draws people of all ages out for a night of fun. Many people dress up in costumes for the race and walk the distance rather than run.

    The Fairbanks Golf and Country Club offers a Midnight Sun Scramble with an evening of golf competition. Activities begin at 7 p.m. with special events such as chipping, putting and long drive competitions. The fun escalates at 9 p.m. with a nine-hole scramble which ends after midnight. Following the scramble is a banquet which lasts well into the early morning.

    The Midnight Sun Street Fair downtown draws large crowds on solstice from noon until past midnight. More than 20 bands and live acts perform throughout the day and evening. A walking parade down the main streets of town in the early evening features such acts as the Red Hackle Pipe Band, and a Chinese ribbon dancing group along with floats. There are rides for children to enjoy along with a free hayride for all ages. Many vendors sell Alaskan-made arts and crafts in display booths. The Street Fair emphasizes music, food and family fun, has free admission and provides visitors and townfolks alike an opportunity to celebrate the solstice together.

    The Chatanika Music Festival, a three-day solstice event located at the Chatanika Gold Camp at Mile 27.5 Steese Highway, is the largest musical event in Interior Alaska. Over 30 local bands perform throughout most of the day and night during the festival. There are nearly 15 food and beverage vendors and camping areas are provided. The Gold Camp also has rooms and cabins available and a restaurant inside.

    For those who enjoy watching the magnificent Midnight sunset on solstice, there are a couple of nearby viewpoints to watch the spectacular colors stretch across the sky. Murphy Dome is located 25 miles from town and visitors can watch the sun set over the Chatanika River Valley and Minto Flats. A favorite spot to enjoy solstice is Eagle Summit in the White Mountains located at mile 108 on the Steese Highway. At 3,624 feet above sea level, it provides a 360-degree view of mountains and valleys, even overlooking the Arctic Circle to the north where the sun sets.

    For more information, visit the FCVB web site at www.explorefairbanks.com.

Copyright Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau. Used here with permission.