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Belwin Conservancy to light up the St. Croix valley with winter solstice bonfire

The Belwin Conservancy will be lighting up the longest night of the year during its inaugural winter solstice bonfire.

The event features a performance by song and dance group Crow and Robin Bellecourt, storytelling, hot cider and cookies. The bonfire runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 20 at the conservancy.

Crow and Robin Bellecourt will also be teaching visitors winter dances from Cree and Ojibwe traditions.

"All of this is the celebration of renewal and life. The solstice is the return of the sun -- the shortest day and longest night. The next day, though it's coming back," Belwin Program Manager Susan Haugh said.

Guests will also have an opportunity to go on guided night hikes through the miles of trails throughout the preserved land located in both Afton and West Lakeland Township.

The bonfire will be held near the conservancy's main office, which is located at 1553 Stagecoach Trail S. in Afton.

The event is free and open to the public. Guests should also bring their own mugs, Haugh said.

Organizers are asking those interested in attending to RSVP on Belwin’s website so they can bring enough cider.