The first day of summer is Friday, and with it also comes the longest day of the year. The Aiken Bridge Club will be taking part in the national event “The Longest Day” to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Aiken Bridge Club will host two bridge games at the Aiken Center for the Arts, with the first game beginning at 10 a.m., and the second game commencing after lunch at 1:30 p.m. According to Steve Banwarth, Aiken Bridge Club manager, this is the first year that the American Contract Bridge League, the sanctioning organization for the local bridge club, will be partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association.

The event is free to the public; however, the Aiken Bridge Club will be accepting donations to go directly to the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association will then use the donations to help further research into the disease, as well as help the caregivers who support and provide aid for those living with the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

At Friday’s event, everyone is invited to play regardless of skill level. If you wish to kibitz, or just observe, that is also welcomed.

Jay Rogaski, member of the Aiken Bridge Club, has been playing bridge for 45 years.

“We encourage every skill level to play,” Rogaski said.

Phyllis Pellarin, member of the Aiken Bridge Club, has been playing bridge since the 1950s.

“It is a wonderful stimulation for the mind,” Pellarin said.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “some research indicates that playing mentally challenging games such as bridge may potentially keep your brain healthy.”

“The Longest Day” event urges participants to take the day to “do something you love in honor of those fighting Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers,” according to the Azheimer’s Association.

If you are interested in playing, call Steve Banwarth at 803-439-1530.

The Aiken Center for the Arts is located at 122 Laurens St. S.W.