The midnight sun is a phenomenon that occurs midsummer in places close to or within the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. The sun never quite sets, leaving almost 24 hours for fun in what is fondly called the “Land of the Midnight Sun.” If you’re planning on visiting the Far North around summer solstice, which occurs each year on June 21, more daylight means you can get the most out of your vacation. Slather on the SPF and leave the solstice plans to us as we introduce you to the exciting activities happening around our Alaska and Yukon Westmark properties.
FairbanksThe extended daylight hours are so adored in Fairbanks that there is an entire festival dedicated to the Golden Heart City’s love of the sun. On June 23, the downtown area’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd avenues close down to accommodate 180 food, art and craft vendors. Once the music starts to play, sun seekers head downtown to be surrounded by the friendly faces, the melodies and the warmth that defines the Midnight Sun Festival.
And don’t miss the world-famous W.G. & Eddie Stroecker Midnight Sun baseball game, declared by Baseball America as one of the “10 Must-See Baseball Events.” On June 21 at 10:30 p.m., join the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks for the 108th annual Midnight Sun game as they face the Everett Merchants.
When in Anchorage, do like the locals do. It’s a solstice tradition for many Anchorage residents to hike to the top of Alaska’s most-hiked mountain, Flattop. Bring your favorite drink, snack and your camera to capture the longest day of the year in photo form. Once you arrive at the top, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Anchorage and Cook Inlet. While you’re staying in Anchorage at the Westmark Anchorage Hotel, make sure to stop by the aptly named Solstice Bar & Grill for fresh Alaska seafood, great steaks and more!
JuneauOn June 22 and 23, the weekend immediately following summer solstice, Juneau is the place to be for gold rush-era adventure. Juneau Gold Rush Days began in 1989 as a tribute to Juneau’s golden past and promising future. The event offers a wide variety of spectacles, including axe throwing and log rolling, and provides fun for the whole family with such activities as pony rides and gold panning. Also, be sure to check out the tasty Alaska fare and local vendors under the big red tent.
Each solstice is recognized in Canada as National Aboriginal Day. In Dawson City, tThe Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre celebrates with a wide variety of family-friendly activities, such as live music, jigging contest and face painting.
If you love to hit the links, don’t miss the Midnight Sun Golf Tournament at the Top of the World Golf Course. Held as close as possible to summer solstice, the tourney tees off at midnight and concludes with breakfast and an awards ceremony.