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Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Harvard Museums of Science and Culture kick off start of new season tonight


Summer officially begins tonight at 6:34 p.m. and what better way to celebrate the arrival of the season than with food trucks, circus performers, music, dancing, and other activities? You’ll find all that and more at the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture’s annual Summer Solstice celebration, starting at 5 p.m.

This year’s event, free and open to the public, will offer a variety of hands-on activities for guests of all ages: you can create summer-themed crafts like a flower crown, a solar eclipse bookmark, an Egyptian-inspired collar, or an Aztec-inspired sun streamer.

Visitors can purchase food from a variety of vendors, among them Ben & Jerry’s, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, and Bon Me.

There will also be a series of live performances throughout the evening to celebrate the beginning of summer. The Revels Singers, the Watertown-based community chorus, will put on a special performance of music celebrating the natural world, directed by music director George Emlen, who is retiring later this month after 32 years. There will also be a performance by Off the Ground Circus Arts, the husband-and-wife circus arts and acrobatic performers Roger and Ellen May, who will demonstrate fire-spinning, stilt-walking, juggling, and more.

The final performance of the evening will feature West African drumming by Sidi Mohamed “Joh” Camara and Troupe Sewa, aimed at summoning luck and good fortune as the new season begins. Camara, who was born in Mali, now resides in Boston and has taught dance and drumming classes and traditional Mande culture and language at Boston University, Harvard University, and various community centers in Boston.

Guests at tonight’s celebration will also receive free evening admission to the Harvard Semitic Museum, which houses more than 40,000 artifacts from Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Tunisia; the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, whose current special exhibition is Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures; and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, where visitors can check out a honeybee hive or the world-renowned, and newly renovated, glass flowers exhibition.

Summer Solstice Celebration 2016 is today, Monday, June 20, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge. Take an MBTA Red Line train to Harvard Square and walk. The event is free and open to the public. In case of rain, the event will be moved inside the museums. Find a full schedule of events here. 

Jennifer Bates can be reached at jennb7@bu.edu.

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