Can you believe it’s almost here? It’s the start of 2016 Solvang Julefest! Say Yule-fest and you’ll sound like a native! This Friday (12/2/16) at 5:00 p.m. you and your family are invited to join the festivities as we light-up the “new” drought-resistant LED Community Tree in Solvang Park during a free ceremony featuring caroling, live entertainment and dancing ballerinas.
You & yours definitely need to experience the Julefest Parade this Saturday (12/3/16) at 11:00 a.m. with 300+ participants marching, rolling, trotting and strolling thru downtown Solvang. It starts at the Vets Hall heading west along festively decorated Mission Drive; to Fourth Place then east on Copenhagen Drive back to Alisal Road and the Old Mission. I’m really looking forward to announcing the Julefest parade again, too!
Plus, there will be free visits with Santa in Solvang Park (Mission Drive & First Street). When you arrive, it’s first come, first seated with the jolly old elf. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the moments! Click here for Santa’s schedule per message from the North Pole!
Other Julefest festivities include the Holiday Wine & Beer Walk (December 10 & 11) as well as the traditional Nativity Pageant (December 11) and Shop, Mingle & Jingle retail specials all around town. Julefest concludes with the Annual Christmas Tree Burn on Friday, January 6, 2017. All Solvang Julefest events are open to the public with free admission (except Julefest Wine & Beer Walk). For more info, please call 805-688-6144; stop by the Solvang Visitors Center at 1639 Copenhagen Drive (open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or visit www.SolvangUSA.com/julefest
Are you planning on being in Solvang during this week of Thanksgiving? Naturally, we’re grateful to have you visit anytime yet remember, on this (and every) Wednesday afternoon from 2:00-6:00 p.m., experience the bounty of the county at the outdoor Farmer’s Market on First Street between Copenhagen and Mission Drives. Savor the fact that you can create an entire meal from this one-block long foodie zone. Check out the seasonal fruits, veggies plus fresh flowers & potted plants that make great gifts.
You’ve probably heard that this Saturday (11/26/16) is “Small Business Saturday” –dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In Solvang, every day is easy to shop as if it’s Small Business Saturday! With more than 150 independent and family owned boutiques, art galleries and antique shops, chain stores are virtually non-existent here. I so enjoy strolling along the main “shop ‘til you drop zones” of Copenhagen Drive, Mission Drive and Alisal Road. Where will you do your next session of retail therapy? Here’s some ideas: http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/shopping/
Here’s a fun way for you and your family to get into the Thanksgiving holiday spirit with some old-fashioned fun! This Saturday (11/19/16) is the 103rd edition of Turkey Bingo in Solvang. The tradition began here in 1914 when competitors played regular bingo for 10 cents per card, per game, with the hope of winning a live turkey. Yes, that’s right, if you got B-I-N-G-O on your card, you won a live bird! You can imagine the mayhem that ensued with squawking turkeys in burlap bags in the room! Well, some things have changed in the last century—the prizes for B-I-N-G-O are now frozen turkeys (60 of them from El Rancho Market)—yet the price per card, per game is still 10 cents! The event was started by Danish-American families and now is coordinated by members of the Alpha Pi charitable organization, whose mission is to assist locals in need of help with everything from groceries to medical bills All ages are invited to join in the friendly fun at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, 1745 Mission Drive. Refreshments will also be available for purchase. Doors open at 5 p.m. and bingo games start at 6 p.m. and will continue until the last (frozen) turkey is won. Gobble gobble!
Did you know that Elverhøj (pronounced “El-ver-hoy” in English) is Danish for elves hill? Located just four blocks from downtown, the delight-ful Elverhøj Museum of History & Art is hosting the Queen of Arts Show & Sale this weekend (Friday, 11/11/16 & Saturday, 11/12/16). Discover 30+ artisans offering unique folk crafts, fine art, jewelry, botanicals, ornaments, glassware and handmade works in a wide range of prices—just in time to kick-start your holiday shopping. Free admission to the museum and the show is offered both days and you can refresh yourself from the California Tacos food truck (available from 11am-3pm). Located at 1624 Elverhoy Way, the museum is devoted to Solvang’s history, pioneering Danish-American spirit and rotating exhibits year-round; so seize this weekend to visit and to shop! Funds raised are used for museum operations of Elverhøj and to support future exhibitions and education programs.
For a list of participating “royal” artists and more info, visit http://www.elverhoj.org/news.html
You and yours can immerse yourself in some amazing art events and activities this weekend (Friday, 11/4/16 thru Sunday, 11/6/16). It’s the 30th anniversary of the iconic Quick Draw event (where over 20 artists complete an original work of art within 60 minutes while you watch)—along with an Arts Festival coordinated by the Santa Ynez Valley Arts Association. The weekend kicks off with a free, Friday evening reception at Solvang’s Elverhøj Museum of History & Art; then free admission to the Quick Draw event on Saturday morning, held for the first time on the beautiful grounds of Flag is Up Farms (on Hwy 246 between Buellton and Solvang) and Sunday afternoon there’s a free closing artists’ panel and reception at the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature in Solvang. In between, there are art classes, NatureTrak program, wine-tasting at artist Seyburn Zorthian’s studio at Buttonwood Farm Winery, a brunch and so much more.
See the entire schedule and details here: http://santaynezvalleyarts.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Festival-Guide.pdf
So, will you and your family dare to experience “Fractured Fairytales” this weekend? THE best way to celebrate the witchy season is heading over to the 23rd annual Solvang Halloween Haunted House & StreetFest happening this Saturday,10/29/16 and Monday,10/31/16 from 6:00-9:30pm (kid friendlier version is 6-6:30pm). Where do you ask? At the eerily transformed Solvang Festival Theater at 420 Second Street! Incredibly imaginative Solvang Parks & Recreation staff and community volunteers have done it again–this time creating a dark forest where creatures cast their shadows on fable icons such as Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, Goldilocks and more! Outside the theater grounds at the StreetFest, check out goodies for purchase from food trucks plus famous Trunk or Treating (on 10/31/16 only).
Your cost for all this safe yet spooky fun is only $11 for adults and $9 for kids ages 13 & under. Get tickets in advance online here or at the gate and don’t be late! “Fractured Fairytales” will only be in Solvang for two nights this Halloween season! http://www.cityofsolvang.com/310/Haunted-House
Make plans to see the amazing Scarecrowfest displays now through November 7 throughout Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley! There’s over 100 creative ‘crows’ in Solvang alone—and you can vote on your favorites as part of the contest. Scarecrowfest ballots are available at the Solvang Visitors Center (1639 Copenhagen Drive) and feature maps to direct you around town. Place your votes in ballot boxes scattered about the village in six different categories this year: “Best Scarecrow Photo Op,” “Best Use of Recycled Materials,” “Best Use of Business Theme,” “Most Danish,” “Spookiest and “Most Humorous”. Winners will be announced in mid-November.
Meanwhile, remember that 10/19/16 is Solvang Third Wednesday with plenty of deals at local merchants including boutiques of all sorts, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors; free admission to the Wildling Museum; the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market; and the best way to add some cheer, the popular Solvang Third Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk. Plus, experience Third Wednesday deals at some of Solvang’s best hotels, like 20% off of their night’s stay (with a qualifying stay). For more details on all the happenings, visit http://solvangthirdwednesday.com/events/