Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” tells the tale of mischievous fairies and mismatched lovers. In the play, a fairy casts misguided love spells, causing romantic chaos to break out in the woodland. As the unintended relationships blossom overnight, the fairy is forced to reverse the spells and make the lovers believe the bizarre affairs were only a dream. 

Perhaps inspired by the wondrous storyline of the Shakespearean classic, the Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival hosts a dreamy gala each year on the first day of summer. Winged fairies with shimmery luminosity prance barefoot around drum circles, while fire-wielding performers dazzle at nightfall. 

This 2015 summer solstice, join the magical festivities and your celebrations will be anything but a dream. Greensboro, North Carolina, is welcoming the first day of summer a day early on June 20, so we’ve built a sunrise-to-sunset itinerary with the ultimate summer salutations. 

Sunrise: The solstice sunshine will start flooding into your bedroom at 6:03 a.m., so you might as well get up and enjoy all 14-and-a-half hours of daylight today. Give yourself a jolt with some java at the Tate Street Coffee House, where caffeine-hungry early birds flock for Black and Tans and sweet pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. 

Brunch: Kick off summer with a hearty meal at Dame’s Almost World Famous Chicken & Waffle. There’s no room for chickening out when it comes to the bold flavors at this joint, where breakfast meets dinner. Pair sweet potato waffles with some chicken cutlets drizzled with orange-honeycomb shmear, or brave the gingerbread waffle and some chocolate hazelnut goodness. 

Viewfinder Tip: The Food Truck State Championship will host the Regional Farmers Market, which opens at 8 a.m. on June 20.

Afternoon: If you’re visiting, reserve a car rental in Greensboro, and then get a taste of what’s cookin’ in nearby Randleman at the North Carolina Food Truck State Championship. It’s a full-on food-off, where local meals on wheels compete for the state title. Food truck vendors including Frog’s Toadly Good Eats and Baguettaboutit will battle it out as bands such as Red Line and Transit hit the stage. 


Evening: Let the fairy dust fly at the Summer Solstice Festival. This free whimsical soiree at the Greensboro Arboretum and Lindley Park salutes summertime with a butterfly release, live music, drum circles, and a fire finale at 9 p.m. Throw off your shoes, slip into your woodland fairy wings, and douse yourself in glitter for this enchanted family festival. 

Sunset: If sparkles and fantastical costumes aren’t your scene, find some peace and quiet on the Nat Greene Trail. Just over 3 miles, this hike loops around Lake Brandt, providing stellar views of the sunset at 8:39 p.m. 

This summer solstice, channel the weird and whimsy of a midsummer’s dream, sans the magic potions and crisscrossed lovers. If you’re from out of town, check out the vacation packages to Greensboro to further plan your sunny sojourn in North Carolina. 

How would you celebrate the longest day in Greensboro?