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Summer Solstice in the UK, in my limited experience, is all about recognising pagan traditions. People gather around stone remains to celebrate the longest day of the year. They may even dance naked around those stones. The Solstice Festival in Anchorage could not be different to the way we celebrate back home.
Runners travelled to Anchorage from all over to take part in the half-marathon, most of which I believe took place in Delaney Park. This long strip of land was originally cleared as a fire break, then used as an airstrip (if you leave a long enough piece of land empty in Alaska, eventually someone will land a plane on it), and is now a park. As I walked into town to enjoy another great meal at Snow City Café, runners wearing medals started to filter into the crowd.
A huge street party, about 8 blocks long, took over the city centre. Kids bounced on trampolines and scampered up climbing walls. A group of skateboarders gave an impressive demonstration of their talents.
There were food stalls, beer gardens and arts and crafts on offer. And, of course, no Summer Solstice is complete without an Elvis tribute act.
My favourite was the Hero Games. Members of various armed forces, fire departments and rescue teams competed in bizarre heats such as scooter racing and fussball. I can assure you, should you need these guys, they will come to your rescue with gusto. It might just take them a while to reach you on their scooters.