The winter solstice is Saturday, Dec 21, this year. Hamilton Downtown Association will celebrate on Friday, December 20.

The way the Earth is tilted as it orbits the Sun, we have days with longer periods of sunlight and days with less and less sunlight time. We reach the shortest amount of daylight, and the longest night, on the winter solstice. After that, there's consistently more sunlight until the summer solstice in June.

In the olden days in the northern hemisphere, it was a night of bonfires to 'make sure' the sun would start spending more time with us.

The Hamilton Downtown Association will honor that tradition with liminaries around the streets and burning barrels on a couple of the corners. By the way, with those burning barrels will come little packages of s'mores ingredients, along with willow sticks to melt the marshmallows of those campfire treats over the flames. It was very popular on Christmas Tree Lighting night in November, so they're doing it again, free to the public.

The stores will be open late Friday until about 8 p.m. and the atmosphere of a small town Christmas will be evident.