12/21/2011 09:00 am ET Updated Dec 21, 2011

Occupy Detroit Marks Winter Solstice With Inclusive Celebration At Grand Circus Park

Winter is just getting started, but Occupy Detroit is here to tell you that starting on Dec. 21, the days are only getting brighter.

Maggie McGuire, who is in the arts and culture working group of Occupy Detroit, came up with the idea to celebrate the winter solstice at Grand Circus Park with her mom, Laura Freeman.

"Occupy Detroit really became a family," McGuire said. "And the holidays are a time to get together with your family and share a celebration together."

The winter solstice will occur at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, marking the first day of winter. While it is sometimes known as a pagan holiday, historically it has been celebrated by people across the globe to mark rebirth and the beginning of days getting longer.

"It's good to be able to connect to the world in a real physical way, McGuire said. "It's dark, and it's going to get more light. That's not a Hallmark card, that's the world we live in."

McGuire said that while Occupy members have accomplished serious work -- from stop foreclosure actions to voter registration -- since Occupy Detroit vacated Grand Circus Park in November, there has been a desire among the group to come together, not for decision making, but socially.

So she planned an event where people can make music, drink cider and maybe march -- McGuire purposely kept the programming loose to keep the event informal and about togetherness.

"It's inclusive, no one's going to be put off by it," she said.

Occupy Detroit protesters dismantled their downtown camp after their city permit ran out and after the weather turned cold. According to McGuire, the group plans to come back to Grand Circus Park once the weather allows. Currently, members are working on fixing up a building in southwest Detroit to use as a community space, as well as improving several vacant houses.

The Grand Circus Park solstice event is open to everyone, and anyone who is interested in the Occupy Detroit cause should consider themselves part of it, McGuire said.

"Bus drivers who drive by and honk their horn are just as much a part as the most die-hard political activist," she said. "It's just like your family's holiday party, but we won't play any party games."

The Winter Solstice celebration will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at Grand Circus Park.



Winter Solstice