Sunrise, Sunset: Lansing Celebrates Summer Solstice

By Shelby Clark Petkus

Downtown Lansing's Old Town district plays host to "celestial" events this June with the Festivals of the Sun and Moon.

Hosted by I Love Old Town, each festival plays tribute to the summer solstice in unique and exciting ways. The first of the festivals, the Festival of the Moon, celebrates one of the shortest nights of the year with its 10th-year running. The event features music, fine wine, craft beer and food from some of the Lansing area's best restaurants, bars and more. Mark Grinnell and Parade of Lights serve as some of the night's entertainment.

The party continues into the following day with the Festival of the Sun. Celebrating the solstice for 15 years, the event features two stages of entertainment. Similar to the prior night's event, Festival of the Sun includes fine wine and craft beer, as well as a gourmet food tasting event. Bell's Brewing will provide much of the beer while Mark's Gourmet Dogs and Aggie Mae's Bakery will be some of the featured food vendors.

The two-day event also features an artistic addition to the solstice parties: Old Town Scrapfest. The competition showcases art composed of scrap metal collected by various teams. Each team has an hour to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap from Friedland Industries' scrap facility, then two weeks to construct a masterpiece. The finished artworks are then displayed at the Festival of the Moon and auctioned off at the Festival of the Sun. Accomplished artists and community members serve as judges in the contest. 40 percent of the proceeds from Scrapfest go to the artist, with another portion donated to the Old Town Commercial Association (OTCA) to "further their mission of community and economic development in Lansing's historic and artistic Old Town."

I Love Old Town is a feature of OTCA, a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of Lansing's Old Town. Through socioeconomic development, historic preservation, community outreach and business recruitment, the group works on providing livable, walkable and friendly streetscapes. The group hosts other Lansing events throughout the year, including Lansing JazzFest and the Old Town Chocolate Walk.

The Festival of the Moon begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 20. The Festival of the Sun will run from 2 to 11 p.m. Both events will be held at Parking Lot 56 and Burchard Park on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Turner Street in Lansing's Old Town district. Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door for each individual festival. A weekend pass for both events is $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.eventbrite.com.

Both events are 21 and over, held rain or shine, and are fundraising for OTCA.

Visit http://www.festivalofthemoonandsun.com or http://www.iloveoldtown.org for more information or call Grace Guerra, festival director, at 517-485-4283.

For more events in the Lansing area, check out BTL's calendar at http://www.pridesource.com/calendar.html.

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