By Roger Chambers

June is officially the start of summer with its long pleasant evenings for several weeks before and after the summer solstice of June 21. Strawberries are at peak harvest around this time. Native Americans called June the Full Strawberry Moon. Many churches and other organizations have strawberry festivals, celebrating with ice cream or shortcake topped with these tasty red berries during their peak season.

June Holidays and Observances
June 3 Corpus Christi; Rhubarb Festival at the 1747 Nellis Tavern, St. Johnsville
June 5 World Environment Day
June 8-10 Violet Festival in Dolgeville
June 11 King Kamehameha I Day in Hawaii
June 14 Flag Day
June 16 Herb & Flower Festival, Parker F. Scripture Botanical Gardens, Oriskany
June 17 Father’s Day (Third Sunday); Bunker Hill Day in Suffolk County, Massachusetts
June 19 Juneteenth; Emancipation Day in Texas
June 20 West Virginia Day
June 21 Summer Solstice
June 23 St. John’s Day Masonic Festival, Masonic Care Community, Utica

In the Mohawk Valley, June is generally a warm to hot month, often with high humidity. Area residents enjoy boating, fishing, and camping at many of the regional lakes. The nearby Adirondack Mountains, Sylvan Beach on Oneida Lake, Cooperstown on Otsego Lake, and the Finger Lakes west of Syracuse are all popular destinations for day trips or a few days of camping and water sports.

For high school seniors, it is graduation season with parties and picnics in honor of the graduates. On Father’s Day, the third Sunday of the month dads are often given cards and gifts of fishing or camping gear or new tools. The Adirondack village of Old Forge celebrates the day with an ugly tie contest and several family-oriented activities.

There are many regional agricultural, herb and flower festivals in June. The 1847 Nellis Tavern in St. Johnsville is home to an annual Rhubarb Festival with a feast of strawberry-rhubarb pies and other deserts baked using this tart vegetable. Dolgeville has a long-standing three days Violet Festival, celebrating a long history of cultivation of African violets by florists in this village in the Adirondack foothills.

The annual Herb & Flower Festival at Oriskany, sponsored by Cooperative Extension is held annually in mid-June. Home gardeners and flower lovers can purchase various plants for home gardens and learn much from master gardeners at this event. The Herkimer Home in Little Falls has held similar events in the past. Various flowers, herbs, and shrubs are also available at many commercial outlets and gardening and home improvement centers.

Juneteenth is a day marking the emancipation of slaves in Texas at the end of the Civil War. It is often celebrated by African Americans with picnics, jazz concerts, and soul food, with events open to the wider community. At the time of this writing, actual events for the Utica area are unclear.

St. John’s Day is the annual celebration of St. John the Baptist and the Masonic Fraternity at the Masonic Care Community in Utica. There is an open house on the large campus of long-term care and assisted living in East Utica, along with arts and crafts vendors, food, and live music.

The above events are just a few of various events during this first month of summer. As summer gets into full swing, get out and enjoy the nice weather and various activities of the season in the Mohawk Valley.

In the Night Skies

Jupiter appears close to the brightest star of the constellation Libra during the first week of in opposition to the Sun and at its closest and brightest of the year.

This month brings Vesta into view, the only asteroid visible with the naked eye, as it appears to the upper right of Saturn. This can be observed without binoculars from the 5th to the 15th of the month when the Moon is not out.

Phases of the Moon for June
June 6 Last Quarter Rises 1:31 P.M. Sets-12:37 P.M.
June 13 New Moon Rises 5:33 A.M. Sets-8:33 P.M.
June 20 First Quarter Rises 1:12 P.M. Sets -1:18 A.M.
June 28 Full Strawberry Moon Rises 9:06 P.M. Set-5:50 A.M.

Rising & Setting Times of Sun, Moon & Visible Planets on Summer Solstice, June 21
Sunrise-5:21 A.M. Sunset- 8:44 P.M.
Moonrise-2:14 P.M. Moonset 1:47 A.M.
Venus Sets-11:12 P.M.
Mars Rises-11:17 P.M.
Jupiter Sets- 2:56 A.M.
Saturn Rises-8:55 P.M.

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