Sunshine, warm temps for Seattle’s summer solstice

Jun 20, 2024, 7:50 AM | Updated: 12:33 pm

Edmonds beach...

Sun seekers enjoy the beach in Edmonds. (Photo: Bill Kaczaraba, My Northwest)

(Photo: Bill Kaczaraba, My Northwest)

The summer solstice is Thursday, June 20 at 1:50 p.m., marking the longest day of the year in Seattle at just under 16 hours by mere seconds. Sunrise will be at 5:11 a.m. and sunset at 9:11 p.m.

The summer solstice is also the beginning of astronomical summer, more commonly called the start of the summer. After June 20, days will gradually get shorter heading to the autumn equinox in late September.

Previous coverage: Rain Monday, Summer solstice season in Seattle to follow

Throughout human history, many have observed the summer solstice with celebrations and rituals. For instance, ancient Greeks marked the solstice as the start of the New Year and started the one-month countdown to the opening of the Olympic Games, true to this day.

Ancient European pagans welcomed the solstice with bonfires amid hopes of a good fall harvest. Bonfires were also associated with magic, banishing evil spirits and often led maidens to future husbands.

Stonehenge in the south of England is aligned with the direction of sunrise on the summer solstice – one of many theories about the purpose of this megalith monument where thousands gather each year to commemorate the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Many Native Americans participated in solstice rituals still practiced today. For example, The Sioux perform a ceremonial Sundance while wearing symbolic colors.

Many still celebrate the summer solstice. Parades and festivals are the most common. In Northern Europe, bonfires are lit and homes are decorated with garlands. In parts of Scandinavia, people dance around Maypoles.

Seattle has one of the more free-spirited summer solstice parades in the country – the Fremont Solstice Parade. The 33rd annual parade is Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. More than 60 community-based ensembles are expected to be part of the parade starting from 3rd and Leary Way and finishing on North 35th Avenue near the Seattle Art Cars. In addition to the parade, two music stages of live local bands will be a part of the festivities, along with many booths with handmade goods and art, fair food and more.

From 2023: Will summer solstice feel like summer in Seattle?

The weather expected for Saturday’s parade will offer plenty of warm sunshine with high temperatures cracking the 80-degree mark. Sunscreen and other sun protective wear will be needed including wide-brimmed hats.

On Thursday’s summer solstice, all can celebrate the start of summer with the summer weather outlook offering a good chance of warmer and drier conditions into September – something many can also celebrate following a cool damp Father’s Day weekend.

Ted Buehner is the KIRO Newsradio meteorologist. You can read more of Ted’s stories here and follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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Sunshine, warm temps for Seattle’s summer solstice