Yesterday we watched our local annual Solstice Parade. The highlight of the event actually has its own Wikipedia entry, so you can read all about it.
Later in the day, we attended our friends W & C's annual Solstice party. It's a well-attended, fun event. The key to the party's success? Simplicity. There's no bar, no selection of beers, just a keg of one type of local microbrew. It varies year to year, but that's the choice, drink it or leave it. If you want wine, there's a couple of bottles of red and a couple of white. Want to nosh? A couple of small tables hold decorative plates and bowls with various savoury and sweet snacks, mostly from Trader Joe's. It's not a fancy party, because W & C recognize that what makes a party a success isn't the food or drink or the decorations. It's the people. They invite friends old & new, co-workers, and family. Conversations flow, kids (allowed, so those frantic parents without sitters can still get out and have some adult conversations) dash up and down stairs, R, the sweetest dog, roams searching for tidbits folks have dropped.
It's probably not a coincidence that W & C have one of the most comfortable yet uncluttered houses I've visited. Carefully selected art hangs on the walls, mostly created by C or by friends, the furniture is older but so well-cared for it looks new. Everything is bright with light and fresh.