Friday marks the winter equinox — the shortest day and longest night of the year. The sun will rise at 10:12 a.m. and set at 3:43 p.m., leaving just five hours and 41 minutes of daylight.
In Alaska, the winter solstice, which occurs when one of Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the sun, is welcomed each year. It signals that Alaska’s already short winter days will creep up in length, and gives people a chance to celebrate the astronomical phenomenon.
The Kenai Wildlife Refuge is hosting a guided Solstice Walk through the refuge Friday.
“The full moon is on Dec. 22 at 8:50 a.m., so we figured we’d do a walk in the evening,” said Ranger Michelle Ostrowkski. “The sun sets at 3:43 p.m. and the moon rises at 3:53 p.m. We’ll walk down to the lake and celebrate solstice, the shortest day of the year.”
Bear Creek Winery will be lighting up the shortest day of the year with their Garden of Lights.
On Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m., the winery invites guests of all ages to walk trough their “winter wonderland” full of “delightful holiday displays.”
The family-friendly event will also feature Christmas music and a chance to warm up with hot cocoa and a fire pit.
Outside of town, Anchorage Parks and Recreation is hosting the Winter Solstice Festival from 5 to 8 p.m. to celebrate the return of the light at Cuddy Family Midtown Park in Anchorage.
The free event is open to everyone and will include ice skating, fat tire bike rides, sleigh rides, food trucks, a light parade and burn barrels. Lights and festive gear are encouraged.
After the celebrations end, the days will start to be longer, beginning with an extra two minutes of daylight on Saturday, Dec. 22.
Kat Sorensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.