June 21 is the summer solstice, the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, and there are several events where Carroll residents can celebrate the arrival of the most sunlit weeks of 2013.
At Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster, Park Naturalist Dawn Harry will lead a Summer Solstice Camp Fire event from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on June 21.
"We'll roast hot dogs, make s'mores, take a little hike and just enjoy the first evening of summer," Harry said.
Harry said that while Bear Branch Nature Center has not always held a camp fire event on the solstice, it's something she likes to do when the timing allows.
"[The Solstice] is definitely something we want to celebrate here at Bear Branch and it was happening near a weekend so I thought it would be a good time for folks to come out," Harry said.
The hike will be a short jaunt down to the lake, according to Harry, but she said that the late evening light may well afford some unique nature viewing opportunities.
"That time of the evening you are more likely to see white tailed deer and you might hear some owls or something. It's just a fun time of day," Harry said.
The hot dogs and s'mores will be included in the $10 registration fee, according to Harry.
Harry said that participants may wish to bring blankets or chairs to sit on for the event.
Pre-registration for the event is required and is available online at http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/recpark/, or by phone at 410-386-2103.
Participation will be limited to about 20 people, according to Harry, and registration will be open through the day of the event so long as there is space remaining.
"There are only so many people you can fit around a camp fire," Harry said.
At the Charlotte's Quest Nature Center in Manchester, Naturalist Sherry Fisher will be leading a Summer Solstice Night Hike from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. on June 21.
"The hike is about an hour long and will be on our trail system. Terrain is good for all walkers but would not be stroller accessible," Fisher said.
Fisher said that she has held a night hike or campfire event around the solstice every year as a way of welcoming the new season and to take advantage of the extra sunlight for unique opportunities in nature identification.
"This is a great opportunity to explore the nocturnal animals in our area such as owls, deer, toads, raccoon, and opossum. We spend a lot of time learning about what animals are nocturnal, reasons to be nocturnal and adaptations they need to be nocturnal," Fisher said.
The night hike is $2 for members of the Charlotte's Quest Nature Center and $3 for non-members with pre-registration required.
Registration for the hike is available online at
and there is a minimum number of seven participants and a maximum of 25, according to Fisher.
Keeping the summer celebrations going through the weekend, the Carroll County Farm Museum will host its Welcome Summer Tea Party on June 23, one of several tea events the museum will hold this year, according to Bonnie Hood, events coordinator for the museum.
"This one basically was a celebration of summer ... We try to hold them on the farmhouse porch and there will be croquet on the front lawn," Hood said.
The Farm Museum will host two sittings of about 16 people each, the first at noon and the second at 2:30 p.m., according to Hood.
Teas hot and cold, as well as an assortment of snacks will be served, including mandarin chicken salad, lemon-poppy scones and chocolate creme de menthe brownies, according to Hood.
After tea, food and croquet, there will also be a guided tour of the farmhouse, according to Hood.
Registration for the tea event will be $20 per person and includes all of the tea, food and activities.
Pre-registration and payment are required and available either by phone at 410-386-3880, or in person at the Farm Museum at 500 S. Center St. in Westminster.