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Summer Solstice 2022

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We’ll start in the middle, with a video of the lighting of the summer solstice bonfire of 2022.  The weather was absolutely perfect and the crowd friendly and warm.  Every year the size of the fire seems to come as a surprise.

This year the weather was so cool that a dip in the river was not in the cards.

Rewinding a day, Aubrey provided another great iteration of the smoked salmon Messerhead feast helping to set the FOOD stage.  Speaking of FOOD, Chef Michael was down from Chicago with Astro.  That means we were spoiled rotten on the food front for days on end.

Salmon feast table

Any solstice that starts with caviar is destined for greatness.

Before.

Prepping for late night tacos

It seems that Chef Michael can’t cook for less than 700.  But that’s OK.  We just need to make the solstice party seven times bigger.  Pork shoulder in the firepit by the shrine.

We had a mid-day break to tour Eli’s fantastic art show at the Barns of Rose Hill.  The show continues through July 2nd.

Then it was time for the pre-game Negroni.

And we were officially underway.  Esther and Cora presided over the opening.

The sufferin bastard made an appearance

After an outstanding potluck feast, replete with fresh flowers, it was time for one quick song (thanks guitar week fellers) and FIRE.

By far the cutest thing at this solstice iteration was the jumping of the gun by Brantley the marshmallow boy.  The fire was still a bit young.  But that did not deter Brantley.


The fire burned for two days.  In fact, it is still smoking as I write this.

Thank goodness for Alec, David, and Gina.  We had a few hours of music by the bonfire.

Rumor has it that absinthe hour stretched from 3am-6am.

The next day happened fast.

Morning after breakfast

The chef outdid himself three times.

Party cleanup was a breeze with Aubrey in charge.  The weather cooperated the entire weekend.

What is left of this fire?

 

Are there coals down there?

 

Fresh veggies from the Berryville farmer’s market (thanks to Chilly Hollow Farm)

While the

veggies roast, we hang by the fire.

Donkey Hodie says “sup homey?”

Astro has the best home

 

The garden

 

Roast veggies

 

OMG more food

Even moonshine is in a food coma.

What do you do with recd currants?

You make a fresh tart.  Then mezcal straight from Mexico City?!  Yup.

Morning never arrived for some of the mezcal participants.

And then a visit from Iulie.

Fin.

 

“Post-pandemic” Solstice Fire 2021

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The weather was iffy with heavy rain to come.  But the night started out beautifully enough as the tiki torches were lit.  And we were off on the experimental solstice fire on xmas edition.

 

The afternoon was balmy at 65 degrees

Who ordered this crazy weather?  This has to be the warmest winter solstice on record.

The scene

 

Tikis wink on

The highlight of this year’s fire was a set of busted up instruments that Josh brought out.  We used a 3/4 size bass (well, what used to be one anyway) to light the fire.

 

 

The logs this year were immense as the ash tree that once held the treehouse came down over the summer.  One or two of the giant logs still remain.

 

The lighting.

Turn the sun!

 

Meanwhile back in the barn, the super dangerous Boilo was out and the keg was tapped.  The food was plentiful and included both shrimp and carrot cake.

All’s well in the party barn

 

 

 

 

We started into a wobbly rendition of “let it snow” and the torrential rain pushed us first under the tarp and then up into the barn.  Where we proceeded to play even more xmas music in sing-along mode and drink way too much boilo.

Things get a little hazy after that.  But the sun has turned, so we got our main job accomplished.

 

 

Two days later, the fire is still smoking.   Thanks to all who came.

Winter Solstice Solo 2019

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The solstice tradition continues in force. Thanks to all who came for the love, laughter, music, and joy.

Tiki lighting

Tiki lighting

 

Deck the bridge

 

Sophie prefers parties indoors, thanks..

Sophie prefers indoor parties, thanks.

 

The barn in party mode

 

Before

 

More before

 

Sundown on the solstice

The lighting was as spectacular as ever.

 

Turn sun turn!

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile in the barn…Sophie takes a party nap.

 

Do not party like Sophie.

 

Boilo

 

Solstice potluck disco center

 

Burn hot

Alec and the fiddle player

 

The solution to cold butts

 

2am coals

I know, lets do it again. See you at the summer solstice!

Summer Solstice 2019: Bodacious Bonfire

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First a story of the lighting through the photography of Amy Barley.

Prepare to Burn

Burn

Light it Up

Fire Maiden

And that is how you turn the sun.

Things looked pretty much like this before we started

Then there were several undocumented hours in the river with the special beer float courtesy of Aubrey. We’re still not sure where he is.

The most popular guest of all was baby Cora. (Yes, that is the three McGraw brothers in kilts.)

Panorama by jackie

Idyllic

A video of the lighting.

 

This shot by my brother walt (at his first solstice) is one of my favorites.

From the bridge

Spectacular

When the fire burned down enough to get within 100 feet, we started the music.

Burning pile

Joel Winstead created some great sketches in real time.

Music by firelight

The fire

Gary and Gina

The the thunderstorm moved in around 11pm and we shifted the music to the barn. We played until 4am. What a joy.

Gary and Gina in the barn

Allen behind his hat

There are a few more pictures on the evite page. Thanks to all who came to the 2019 summer solstice fire!

Thanks for coming to the summer solstice!

The 2018 Solstice Fire

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The weather cooperated spectacularly for the 2018 solstice party. The rain cleared for a day or two. The moon was full. It was a crisp cold night with a beautiful sky.

Our ritual of gathering good friends from all walks of life every six months took place again without a hitch. Thanks to all who came to help us turn the sun.

Sunset before the party

This year, the fire lighting was cheered on by a rising full moon. The fire caught quickly and burned hard and fast.

Full moon and unlit pile

 

Lighting (time to run away)

Lots of people arrived for the lighting this year

Every solstice party is different in interesting ways. This year lots of people showed up for the lighting at 5:45. Then the BOILO got the party rocking.  The lighting is always a sight to see.

The fire gets going

2018 solstice fire

 

 

The moon was incredible and lent a silver tinge to everything.

The barn was alight in party mode

This year the unplanned potluck food supply was great with chilli, meatballs, sloppy joes, fried chicken, and even krispy kreme donuts. The barn bar took a licking. Gonna need some serious restocking before summer!

Sorry about the terrible Christmas music in the barn. That’s just how it goes. At least there is a disco ball.

Marco. BOILO! There’s nothing quite like extremely local product.

 

A violin burns

Possibly the most ridiculous and surprising part of the evening was the violin sword fight instigated by Josh Henry (my trusty and talented violin and bow repair guy). Unbeknownst to everyone, Josh brought three dead rental violins to the party. So when we got them out and started sword fighting vigorously with them and then threw their remains into the fire, the 20 somethings who were already wondering just what those old people across the fire were all about, freaked out. They thought just for the smallest moment that I was destroying my actual violin.

LOL! Got you.

There was lots of music this year.  It started early and went late.  Thanks music makers!  We love playing with you all.

 

Late night the music continues

 

Ember glow

I know, lets do it again this summer!!

Moonglow (picture by Amy Barley)

Marco. BOILO!

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This is how a tradition is born. First a seemingly innocuous cocktail article. Then edition one. Then fun. And here we go down the slippery slope to BOILO.

Step 0. Gather ingredients.

The makings of BOILO

What is that fancy ass ginger beer doing in there? And mace from Grenada?! Yeesh.

Step 1. Combine and boil down for 30 minutes or so.

Boil the BOILO

Step 2. What are we missing?

No really, what are we missing??!

Step 3. Eureka.

Step 4. Let the BOILO steep overnight (or 5 hours, whichever is longer)

Final product steeps

Now we are ready for the solstice! Yes we are.

Burn, baby, burn. Solstice fire 2017.

Burn Baby Burn: 2017 Winter Solstice Fire

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Cerbe meets mogli before dark

Music. Great food. Huge fire. Friends. Boilo. What more could you want?

Early birds get to see the lighting

Mmmmmm. Beer.

The lighting

Put it in perspective: 100 feet of flame.

This year the fairy ring of osage oranges turned into a warning line for fire spread. We had to get water buckets and a hose out for the first time ever.

The fire spreads

View from the field

The two (or three) pods making up the solstice party are always a good mix. Food and cheesy Christmas music in the barn. Fire and live music in the field. This year some of the real music moved into the barn during a brief rain.

Lights

Boilo causes time warps

Marco

Boilo

Turn sun turn

Thanks to all who came. An excellent iteration.

Summer Solstice Party 2017

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81 in July

The summer solstice weather could not have been finer. 81, sunny, perfect river weather.

kerosene distribution

Post river, it was time to light the fire.

2017 solstice fire

Lighting

The fire was perfectly constructed by JC.

The moon was full.

Children of the fire

Thanks to all who came.

Perfect Weather Window for the 2016 Winter Solstice Party

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Cold and rainy weather was a real possibility during the winter solstice party. But a day that started with a coating of ice everywhere turned warmer and beautiful before the party started. The next day was rainy. So boy are we lucky!

Before (a fat one)

Before (a fat one)

The sunset was outstanding.

Impressionist evening

Impressionist evening

Impressionist Shenandoah

Impressionist Shenandoah

Party prep complete! Ready for the hard core solstice revelers. It’s way easier to come to the summer solstice!

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Newly resurfaced footbridge

Newly resurfaced footbridge

Tiki trail across the creek

Tiki trail across the creek

Get lit: Winter Solstice fire 2016

Get lit: Winter Solstice fire 2016

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After lighting, it was time for music. The music lasted all night, right up to 5am when the weather shifted and it started to sprinkle.

Music at the solstice

Music at the solstice

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We decided that due to rampant political disgust we would burn some flags. Real ones. This is a new thing. Thanks Trump.

Flag burning time

Flag burning time

Into the fire with you nazis!

Into the fire with you nazis!

Burn baby burn

Burn baby burn

And we’ve had it with racism too.

Flag two for the flames

Flag two for the flames

Down with racism

Down with racism

Burn baby burn

Burn baby burn

Warning: exuberant potty mouth host on a mission (with a nice buzz) in this video!

Then it was back to the keg of dogfish head 90 and the fantastic potluck dinner in the barn. Super fantastic.

TURN SUN TURN.

Thanks to all who came.

After

After

Turning the Sun 2016 (Summer Solstice)

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Before

Before

A gorgeous Virginia summer evening was just what the doctor ordered for the summer solstice party this year. Food, friends, fire, and all night music. Thanks to all who came.

This year featured lots of next gens (over 30) wandering the property. Needless to say, the keg ran dry around 3am. And they ate ALL of the cookies.

So orderly

So orderly

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Absinthe hour ran from 4:45-6:15. We were ushered to bed by the blue.

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(Special thanks to Micheal Hobert for some of the photos above.)

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