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Summer Solstice 2010 At Stonehenge (PHOTOS): New Agers, Neo-Pagans Celebrate

First Posted: 06/21/10 02:34 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 05:50 PM ET

Some 20,000 revelers -- mainly New Age and neo-pagan types -- gathered to dance, sing and holler as the sun rose over the prehistoric stone circle Stonehenge on June 21 to mark the 2010 summer solstice.

The first rays of orange and gold were detected at about 4:52 a.m. at the Heel Stone, one of the monument's pockmarked pillars that aligns directly with the rising sun. The sight elicited cheers from the festive, if bleary-eyed, throng, many of whom had been partying all night.

Given the monument's location on Salisbury Plain in southern England, the annual event is occasionally marked by clouds and unpredictable weather. Yet those in attendance this year were rewarded with a clear, crisp morning.

"One time in maybe 10 we get a decent sunrise, and that was a good one," Simon Banton, a 45-year-old education volunteer for English Heritage, the group which manages the site, told reporters.

Featuring bonfires, maypole dances and other rituals, the event harkens back to solstice celebrations that were a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar.

View photos of the solstice celebration here:

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