Solfestuka overshawdowed by eclipse?

sunapproaches

Sunlight teases most of Longyearbyen on Feb. 24, creeping ever closer to actually shinning on the city for the first time in four months March 8, even though the first official sunrise was Feb. 15. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople

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Normally it’s the most popular cultural event of the year. This year, it isn’t even close to being the biggest sun-related event of the month.

Still, locals and visitors are guaranteed to have a brighter time welcoming the return of the sun at the annual Solfestuka festival starting Sunday than when the skies go dark during the March 20 total solar eclipse.

The usual lineup of traditional and special events is more or less intact during the eight day festival. Organizers said their plans weren’t affected by what’s expected to draw the largest crowd ever to visit the archipelago only a couple of weeks later.

One difference from most years is an afternoon of outdoor sun-related activities on March 7 will take place on the ski hill across from Longyearbyen School instead of locations further from town due to a lack of snow, said Roger Ødegård, the city’s cultural advisor.

“It’s also easy for everyone to get to,” he said.

One traditional event that will be delayed is a feast and sing-a-long at Huset that is being moved to the night of the eclipse in order to give visitors an extra event to participate in, Ødegård said.

Full details about all events are available at solfest.no.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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