Goldendale, WA, June 2 – The Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with members Goldendale Observatory, Carriger Solar Project and Friends of Gorge Area Parks (FOGAP), is pleased to announce a very special Summer Solstice Celebration at Goldendale Observatory State Park on Tuesday, June 21, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.
This unique fundraiser combines art and astronomy and will feature solar viewing through the Observatory telescope, a presentation on the history of the Observatory, food, beverages, raffles, and a display of prize-winning solar-themed artworks from the Chamber’s recent art contest.
“On this side of the state, we are fortunate to have more sunshine and wind than the rest of the region, which influenced the originators of the South-Central Washington Science Center to include wind and solar power in their site plans for what would later become the Goldendale Observatory,” says Nicole Lundin, Executive Director of Goldendale Chamber of Commerce. “The county was an early adopter of renewable energy as far back as the 1980s, due to the local climate and the availability of transmission lines. The community has benefited economically through the tax base, temporary construction, and permanent good-paying jobs that come from clean energy development.”
Tickets for the Summer Solstice Celebration are $10 in advance, and $15 at the gate. Guests are encouraged to bring extra cash for a 50/50 raffle drawing for numerous prizes including special commemorative artwork, cash, and unique items created for the event. A shuttle bus to the Observatory will be available from the parking lot at Goldendale High School beginning at 6:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at www.goldendalechamber.org. Current members of the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce are welcome at no charge. “We are looking forward to gathering to celebrate the bounty of the sun on the longest day of the year,” says Lundin, “and also to highlight the important celestial work of our treasured Observatory State Park, which offers one of the largest publicly accessible telescopes in the nation.”
The Friends of Gorge Area Parks is a new volunteer-driven group supporting four Washington State Parks in the Columbia River Gorge region, in order to enhance quality educational and recreational opportunities – Goldendale Observatory State Park, Columbia Hills State Park, Maryhill State Park, and Brooks Memorial State Park. FOGAP works with the Parks via an agreement with the Agency, recognizing them as the official support group for these four parks. Visitors to the Solstice Celebration are encouraged to learn more about joining FOGAP. Members will be on site to answer questions and help sign up volunteers for future park programs.
The solar art contest, which ran from March through April, attracted submissions from an array of local artists who created pieces in a variety of media. The winning entry was a finely detailed pen-and-ink drawing entitled Solstice, by Alyssa Eckert, whose work is available at www.thebrightmerchant.com. The second-place winner was Ana Rugani, and the third-place winner was Sarah Fitzsimmons. An image of the first-place piece will be enshrined on commemorative t-shirts, provided courtesy of the Carriger Solar Project, which will be available for purchase both during the event and later through the Chamber office and Observatory gift shop.
Proceeds from event ticket sales and from sales of commemorative items will be used to purchase needed equipment for the Observatory, and to support Art at the Heart of Goldendale, a Chamber public art initiative aimed at revitalizing and beautifying Goldendale’s downtown area.
“The Carriger Solar Project is honored to participate as a sponsor of this special solstice celebration and help support important local programs that make this community shine,” says Tai Wallace, Senior Director of Development at Cypress Creek Renewables, parent company of the Carriger Solar Project. “We deeply appreciate the opportunity to partner with these outstanding organizations to have some fun and celebrate the enduring power of the sun in Klickitat County.”
Guests of the Solstice event can experience an abbreviated version of the full-length program offered daily to observe the sun. “The Goldendale Observatory offers some of the highest-quality live solar viewing opportunities available anywhere,” says Troy Carpenter, Observatory Administrator. “We encourage all to visit us on any regular afternoon when the park is open, for the full two-hour program which begins at 3:00 pm.” The Goldendale Observatory solar viewing program offers some of the highest resolution live views of the Sun offered by any public observatory or science center in the nation. More information is available at www.GoldendaleObservatory.com