The winter solstice takes place each year on Dec. 21 or 22, and marks the official beginning of winter and the longest night of the year. To celebrate the season and the coming lengthening of days, the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department will host an inaugural Winter Solstice Festival of Light on Saturday, Dec. 20 from 3 – 5 p.m. at the Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center.
“We hope to encourage personal reflection of our connection with nature and family,” said Joyce Carroll, program supervisor for the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department. “We would like people to…feed their soul, nurture their spirit and to honor the sun’s light with family and friends.”
The festival is a family-friendly event with crafts and activities for all ages and skill levels. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about sowing seeds in winter, as well as how to make many seasonal crafts like lanterns, bird feeders and herbal sachets. The evening will conclude with storytelling, hot chocolate and cider as the outdoor Discovery Garden is lit with luminaries and ceremonial bells ring in the new season.
“Most of all, [attendees] can gather with others who respect the cycles and seasons and the spirit of community,” said Carroll.
The event will be held in the Social Hall of the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center. Admission is free of charge, but those interested in participating should pre-register online or by phone at (319) 356-5100 in order to receive a gift at the celebration. Participants who do not pre-register are still welcome to attend. All are reminded to wear warm winter clothing, as some activities will take place outside.