How and where is Denmark celebrating Sankt Hans Aften this year?

How and where is Denmark celebrating Sankt Hans Aften this year?
Sankt Hans at Marienborg in 2011. Photo: Martin Sylvest Andersen/Ritzau Scanpix
Bonfires will be lit across Denmark tonight to celebrate Sankt Hans Aften -- but the usual crowds of jubilant Danes will be gone, as all major events have been cancelled. Here's what's still happening.
Any major events that were still planning to go ahead have had to cancel since Danish police on Saturday said that a maximum of 50 people could be present. 
 
John Jensen, Deputy Police Inspector at the National Police's National Emergency Center, told DR that even though up to 500 people can now theoretically gather if everyone is seated, they are making an exception for Sankt Hans events, as they felt that organisers would not be able to maintain control. 
 
“That is why we have cut it and said that you should be aware that even if a lot of people are sitting down, a maximum of 50 people still applies.” 
 
As a result, some of the most popular places for the bonfires,  Tivoli, Frederiksberg Gardens, the Hotel Marienlyst in Helsingør,  and Islands Brygge, have all cancelled their events.
 
Handbjerg Marina in northwest Jutland was on Monday the last holdout, insisting on holding a traditional big event, which it was styling as “a demonstration on the right to hold a Sankt Hans party”. 
 
But after an outbreak of infection nearby, and massive criticism on social media, the organiser Martin Daasbjerg on Monday night decided to cancel.
 
But, in their own coronavirus-friendly way, a few events will still take place. Here are some of them. 
 
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Dragør Fort
 
One of the most atmospheric places to celebrate Sankt Hans in a normal year, Dragør Fort on the Øresund seafront is this year one of the only places in Copenhagen where you can get a decent bonfire experience. 
 
After enjoying some tasty food at Backstage Burgers or Cafe Siam, two restaurants just outside the fort, and some ice cream at  Busk is (which is also laying on a treasure hunt for children), you can watch the fire from outside the fort from 21.30pm. 
 
The fort itself will be cleared of all but 50 lucky guests. 
 
 
Refshaleøen
 
Another place by the harbour where you can enjoy the celebrations is on Refshaleøen, where the street food market Reffen is putting on its second Sankt Hans night — albeit with a scattering of small fire pits replacing the traditional big bonfire. 
 
At 5pm, children can roast marshmallows and Danish twist-bread on a stick over the fires. At 8pm the Kim Larsen tribute band Larsens Bedste will hold a concert with some Danish campfire classics. 
 
Kerteminde
 
On the island of Funen, the Johannes Larsen Museum is organising a quiet event in its gardens overlooking the Great Belt, where you can order charcuterie and other treats from the restaurant. 
 
It will at least have a small fire. 
 
 
 
Virtual celebrations 
 
There are a host of virtual celebrations where you can try and get some of that Sankt Hans spirit on you phone, computer, or TV, but judging by the small number of people saying they plan to attend on Facebook, it seems like for most Danes Sankt Hans is a physical experience or it is nothing at all. 
 
DR Fællessang
 
Denmark's state broadcaster DR is laying on a night of virtual group singing with a special edition of DR Fællessang, the popular weekly series it ran during the coronavirus lockdown. 
 
The broadcast will hop between bonfires at the homes of Danish celebrity singers Kjartan Arngrim, Kurt Ravn, Michael Carøe, Erann DD, Jørgen Thorup, Michael Hardinger, Kim Daugaard, Clemens Knejterne and Jonas Petersen. 
 
TV2 at Musikens Hus in Aalborg
 
Musikkens Hus, the new concert house in Aalborg in northern Jutland, is putting on a musical event which will be broadcast on Denmark's TV2 network. The Aalborg Symphony Orchestra will from 7.45pm perform Sankt Hans classics with the North Jutland girl's choir. 
 
Rebæk Søpark in Hvidovre 
 
Hvidovre usually hosts one of Copenhagen's biggest bonfires, but this year the municipality is instead streaming group singing from mayor Helle Adelborg's own bonfire. 
 
 
“I know it won't be the same at all. But we also have to stand together on Sankt Hans by keeping a distance,” Mayor Helle Adelborg wrote on Facebook. 
 
Vallensbæk 
 
In next door Vallensbæk, the municipality is also planning a virtual celebration, with mayor Henrik Rasmussen lighting a torch at 10pm “from a secret location” and giving a short speech. 
 
The municipality is also distributing 2,000 torches to citizens outside Vallensbæk City Hall, outside the Fakta supermarket, and by the red barn at Højrupgård, that can be lit at home.
 

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