Four local events celebrate the longest day of the year

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Brooks Marshall, at left, speaks to a group of people, Saturday, June 21, 2014, as the sun rises over the Salmon Ruins in Bloomfield.

FARMINGTON — Farmington Public Library and three ancestral Puebloan sites will celebrate the summer solstice this week.

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year. Ancestral Puebloans included solstice markers in their architecture. The Farmington Public Library was built with solstice markers on the floor to honor the culture of the Four Corners region.

Salmon Ruins Museum, Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park will celebrate the solstice Thursday. Chaco will have events Wednesday and Aztec will have events Friday as well. 

Chaco and Aztec will open at 5:30 a.m. for the annual summer solstice celebrations.

The first 100 Chaco visitors can view the sunrise alignment at Casa Rinconada. The Acoma Enchantment Dancers will perform at Pueblo Bonito on Wednesday in the morning and afternoon. They will also perform Thursday morning following the sunrise program. For more information call 505-786-7014.

Aztec Ruins National Monument will also open its gates at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday and visitors must arrive by 5:45 a.m. to participate. The visitors will see the alignment of the sun at the great house in the west section of Aztec Ruins National Monument. They will also see the doorways light up in the Great Kiva. A ranger program will follow the sunrise event. For more information call 505-334-6174.

Sunlight shines onto the solstice marker Saturday, June 21, 2014, at the Salmon Ruins in Bloomfield.

The summer solstice observation at Salmon Ruins begins with an orientation and discussion of archaeoastronomy — prehistoric cultures knowledge and observance of astronomic events — at 7 a.m. Thursday. Larry Baker, the museum director, said people should meet in the museum's parking lot.

The group will visit the solstice marker to see the sunlight illuminate it starting at 7:50 a.m.

“The sun shines through a window onto a feature in one of the rooms,” Baker said.

He said the sunlight will move down the wall and then strike the feature.

Baker said the process is quick and will last about 15 minutes.

The entire program, including the presentation, will take about an hour and 15 minutes.

For more information about the Salmon Ruins solstice observation, call 505-632-2013.

Farmington Public Library’s solstice event starts with live music from local musician Corey Allison at 11:30 a.m. The sun will illuminate the library’s solstice marker at noon.  

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at