Solstice near the Arctic Circle

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Relishing the midnight sun in Anchorage

Back in 1906, various Fairbanks baseball teams banded together to harness the sun in the name of America’s favorite pastime. Because there’s nearly 19 and half hours of daylight during the summer solstice, these teams stepped up to plate and hosted the first Midnight Sun Baseball Game. The sporting event started at night, and the sun set and rose again before the final inning. 

Since their formation in 1960, the Alaska Goldpanners have carried on the tradition and host the midnight game each year. This June 21, 2015, they’re facing off against the Seattle Studs at 10:30 p.m. 

While the Goldpanners are playing on the summer solstice, down in Anchorage fellow Alaskans can’t help but start the celebrations a day early. On June 20, 2015, the Anchorage summer solstice festivities will take over town with marathon routes and obstacle courses. We’ve outlined the ultimate summer itinerary so you can party like it’s 1906 (only better!). 

Sunrise: Rise and shine, sleepy head, the sun rises at 4:20 a.m. this morning. If you have the willpower to skip the snooze button, we commend you. Grab a cup o’ Joe and head to Kincaid Park to watch the solstice sun rise over the mountains. Early birds usually see wild moose roaming during this time of day. 

Morning: Start summer solstice in Alaska off on the right foot with the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon & Half Marathon. The route winds through the eastern foothills and Delaney Park Strip. Need incentive to make it across the finish line? Picture the grilled cheese sandwiches Franz Bakery will be passing out at the end of the course. 

Lunch: If you need more than grilled cheese to refuel after your midnight sun run, feast on hand-tossed pies and microbrews at Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria. Stick with the summer theme and order the Solstice pizza, a roasted chicken and mushroom combo, and pair it with their Fairweather IPA. 

Viewfinder Tip: Firefighters, police, troopers, and military personnel will compete in the annual Hero Games on June 20.

Mid-day: Discover what all the hype is about at the Anchorage Summer Solstice Festival. This annual family-friendly downtown event welcomes summer with kayak pools, huge sand boxes, skateboard demos, and live music. At noon, the Hero Games will kick off the celebration with first responders competing in kooky challenges, from donut-eating contests to bucket brigades.  

Evening: Once you get a taste of Alaskan salmon, there’s no turning back. Just one bite of Glacier Brewhouse’s grilled Alaskan salmon or seared ahi tuna will transform you into a fish snob. From the restaurant’s Alaskan rockfish to the Bering Sea king crab legs, good luck enjoying seafood anywhere outside of the Last Frontier ever again.  

Sunset: Ring in summertime from the top of the world, or at least a mountain peak. Every year there’s a trek up Flattop Mountain to watch the setting midnight sun. The summit celebration is like a June version of New Year’s Eve. Everyone lights sparklers, plays music, and dances, while some even set up tents to spend the night. After 19 hours, 21 minutes, and 33 seconds of shining, the sun will finally set at 11:42 p.m.  

With so much sunshine to soak up, we can’t blame locals and those staying at hotels in Anchorage for celebrating summer a day early. If you’re visiting on the longest day of the year, check out Anchorage vacation packages, too. 

Here’s what you missed last year during the midnight sun in Anchorage:

-We kick started the first day of summer with a hike at Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

-The Downtown Summer Solstice Festival hosted the Jazz Fest concerts, Art Fair, and Hero Games.

-Slightly Stoopid brought their funky reggae fusion to the stage at Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria.

-Bear Tooth Theatrepub ended the evening with a movie and gourmet snacks.

 How would you spend 19+ hours of daylight in the Arctic Circle? 

 

Header Image Attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/Jennifer/Via/https://flic.kr/p/922gs
Copy Image Attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/Eli Duke/Via/https://flic.kr/p/czJWZj

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Chloe Mulliner

As a staff writer for Expedia, Chloe Mulliner is dedicated to providing top travel tips for your jaunts around the world. She believes there are adventures to be had on every inch of the globe from surf spots on the Peruvian coast to the charming villages of the English countryside. Chloe specializes in showcasing all the must-see attractions on your travel wish list. She lives by the belief that every adventure is a story worth sharing.

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