This Saturday (5/3/14) starting around 2:00 p.m. on, join us in Solvang as we welcome more than 500 members of the Rancheros Visitadores “visiting ranchers” for their free equestrian parade north along Alisal Road then east on Mission Drive. Watch these handsome horses, riders and carriages stride by, then head to the Old Mission Santa Ines field to see them blessed by the padres. Afterward, they will head along the Santa Ynez River trail for their week-long trek and encampment nearby. This long-time private men’s membership club is gathering here for the 84th time to celebrate horsemanship, western heritage and ranching traditions. I’ve got some fun facts to share. Did you know that Rancheros Visitadores was founded in 1930 and members include riders from all over the world? In the late 1930’s, Walt Disney took part aboard his horse Minnie Mouse. Ronald Reagan rode here in the 1970’s when he was governor of California. In 2014, for the third year in a row, Rancheros Visitadores are partnering with Wrangler’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink Foundation to raise money and awareness of local breast cancer care programs. Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley are well-known in the equestrian world for our horse ranches, with a focus on quarter horses, thoroughbred and Arabian breeds, as well as respected training, breeding and veterinary facilities. If you’d like to do some horseback riding yourself, check out http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/outdoor-activities/#Horse
Do you or someone you know love vintage cars? (I was born in Detroit, so it’s practically genetic!) If so, you’re in for a major treat at the 27th annual Solvang Datsun Roadster Classic this Saturday, April 26, 2014, from 9:00 am-3:00 pm! More than 100 of these beauties have already registered for the event and will be on display on First Street across from Solvang Park. It’s free to spectate – so come admire these cars and chat up the owners (and of course, stroll & shop & eat & wine & beer taste while you’re here!) According to organizers Southern California Datsun Roadster Owners Club and CM Breyer & Associates–since 1988, this gathering has become one of the most sought-after Datsun Roadster shows by enthusiasts across the nation and Europe, too. Reg fees from the event help support Camp Reach for the Sky for kids with a cancer diagnosis. Naturally, the weather forecast is sunny, so come stroll Solvang and see these vehicles shine! For more details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/includes/events/?action=displayDetail&eventid=6816
Did you know that Elverhøj (pronounced “El-ver-hoy” in English) is Danish for elves hill and is one of Denmark’s most famous folk plays? And just four blocks from downtown, Elverhøj Museum of History & Art is devoted to Solvang’s history, its pioneering Danish-American spirit and Denmark’s colorful customs as well as artistic expression (you definitely want to check out the rotating exhibits, special events and activities throughout the year). Viggo Brandt-Erichsen (1896-1955), a Danish-American artist & sculptor built Elverhøj as his dream home and studio almost single-handedly. Along with his wife Martha Mott “Patt” Brandt-Erichsen (1906-1983), an accomplished painter and art teacher in her own right, they donated their dream home to the community upon their passing. Following extensive renovation, Elverhøj opened to the public in May 1988 and over the last three decades, has become a cultural center you should definitely visit. Hours are 11 am – 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday with free admission (suggested donation of $5 per person is welcome). Viggo said of Solvang: When you look for a place . . . and you find Utopia — then you stop looking, and say, “There!” Velkommen til Solvang!
Spring has definitely sprung—you can tell since it’s readily apparent in the vineyards surrounding us here in Solvang with “bud break” giving way to “leafy shoots”—and that means it’s time for the annual Spring Vintners Festival. This year, a full 4-day celebration of our local wines is April 10-13, 2014. Sponsored by the non-profit Santa Barbara Vintners organization, there are so many exciting events and activities on offer— you’ll definitely want to come stay, sip and swirl in Solvang for awhile! For example, don’t miss “The Grand Tasting” event on Saturday, 4/12/14 from 1-4pm showcasing over 110 different Santa Barbara County wineries and restaurants at River View Park in nearby Buellton (we hosted it last year in Solvang and it moves around the Valley). Now expanded with a Connoisseur’s Club Lounge experience, cooking & barrel cooper demonstrations, art walk, live music, botanical garden and wine sales (new this year). There’s so many activities happening this coming weekend all around Solvang including winemaker dinners, hikes, wine & cheese pairings and special vineyard open houses. Here’s where to get all the details and your tickets: http://www.sbvintnersweekend.com/
Admit it, at some point, you (or someone you know) has dreamed of jetting off to Europe and tying the knot. Yet flying to Europe to get married can be time and cost prohibitive. Yet it doesn’t have to be if you “get hitched” here in California’s Little Denmark. Combining amazing Scandinavian architecture, incredibly scenic venues, and mild year-round weather with friendly, professional services is the recipe for any memorable special event. From just you two or 200 or so, I think you’ll “fall in love” with choice of 16 special hotels plus even more places with banquet/meetings rooms and outdoor areas including local wineries.
Consider some of these options: the gardens at the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, Solvang Festival Theater (private reception area under the oaks), Solvang Park with its charming gazebo, Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall (so versatile, great hardwood floors) Hans Christian Andersen Park (delightful shady picnic groves), Sunny Fields Park (magic kids play zone) or the art-filled Wildling Museum rooms. The staff at the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau is happy to offer recommendations and referrals. Just call 1-800-468-6765 or visit http://www.solvangusa.com/group-tours/special-events/