Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Summer Solstice festivities set for June 21 at the Old Forge Library

The Summer Solstice, also known as “the longest day of the year,” the day in 2022’s calendar with the most hours of daylight is Tuesday, June 21. Solstice celebrations are celebrated throughout the world and have been celebrated by our ancestors since Neolithic times.

The Old Forge Library, and its community partners and friends at Weaving Home, LivingADK, and the Old Forge Farmers Market invite the public to celebrate the solstice with them at festivities held on the library lawn at 220 Crosby Blvd. in Old Forge. Renowned Abenaki artists, writers and storytellers will make the occasion memorable.

There are two phases of the celebration and the public are invited to come and join in and make a celebratory, joyful noise. A gourd rattle workshop at 4 pm will be led by artist, Andreé Dennis Newton. All supplies will be provided for participants to make and decorate their own gourd rattle using natural materials such as gourds, corn, beans and rice.

The rattles will come in handy at 7 pm when Joe and Jim Bruchac, renowned storytellers return to an Old Forge audience to lead our community in a Summer Solstice ceremony and celebration starting at 7 pm and culminating in a ceremonial fire and drum circle. Jim will light the special solstice fire using a traditional bow drill. The public is invited to bring percussion items with them, including rattles, bongos, handheld drums, tambourines, maracas, castanets…whatever sounds fun.

Because the program will be outside, attendees should dress appropriately for the weather, and bring blankets and chairs to sit on. (Maybe some bug repellent.) The event will take place, rain or shine.

Old Forge native, artist Andreé Dennis Newton. Photo provided by Beth Pashley of the Old Forge Library.

Andreé Dennis Newton is an Old Forge native and one of the area’s most beloved artists. She incorporates her Abenaki heritage into her contemporary wood carvings, totems, and totem poles, a tradition passed down from her father Maurice “Chief” Dennis. In 1998, she was introduced to hard shell gourds and her imagination took off into creating masks, bells, bowls, jewelry, and little spirit beings. Making rattles is an experiment that Andreé agreed to try for the benefit of this special occasion.

Joe Bruchac is an award-winning musician, storyteller and author.  He has written over 120 books for children and adults. For over thirty years he has been creating poetry, short stories, novels, anthologies, and music that reflect his Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions.  Joe is well-known to Old Forge audiences having performed at the Adirondack Storytelling Festival for many years.

James Bruchac, like his father, Joe, James is also an award-winning author and Abenaki storyteller. He is a cultural educator, wilderness expert, and Director of The Ndakinna Education Center in Greenfield Center, NY.

The Old Forge Library received a grant to support this program. Because both the rattle-making and ceremonial solstice celebration were generously sponsored by the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, and the Aaron F. & Faith B. Norton Fund, there is no fee to attend and no material fees to make a rattle.

Voluntary donations will be gratefully accepted.

Photo at top: Joe Bruchac, award-winning musician, storyteller and author. (Photo provided by Beth Pashley of the Old Forge Library.)

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

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