Town to mark summer solstice with naked run

Published Jun 20, 2007


Riga - Revellers will be able to streak with impunity in a Latvian town this weekend, as the community holds a naked run to mark the midsummer festival, organisers said on Wednesday.

"The nude run is for everybody, no matter their gender, age or race," Ilze Dambite-Damberga, of the city council in the western town of Kuldiga, said. "One can wear shoes or sneakers, as long as they don't go up to the armpits," she said.

The June 23 run across the town's 150m 19th century brick bridge marks "Jani", the most popular holiday in Latvia.

Taking one's clothes off, however, is not a typical feature of Jani celebrations - the most common traditions are gatherings with family and friends in the countryside, singing, drinking beer and eating cheese, as well as leaping across bonfires.

Kuldiga has been holding the run for the past seven years, however, drawing dozens of participants who are ready to streak in the wee hours - the event is held at 3am (00h0GMT).

Police will be on hand in case "puritans" show up in protest, and the hardy runners will be rewarded with beer.

"Usually there are more watchers than runners," Dambite-Damberga added. - Sapa-AFP

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