Free Concerts in the Park this Summer start June 14th!

You know that “summer” is right around the corner since the days are longer with a lot more sunshine which means more time for outdoor fun! Starting this Wednesday, 6/14/17 and EVERY Wednesday thru 8/16/17—you’ll want to be at Solvang Park (Mission Drive & First Street) for FREE concerts from 5-8pm! The blues/rockers of the Mark Roberts Band will kick-off this year’s sounds. Plus there will be four free bonus concerts on Friday evenings 6/30, 7/14, 7/28 and 8/11, too! For the complete line-up of bands ranging from bluegrass to jazz to good ole rock & roll, check out http://solvang3rdwednesday.com/solvang-summer-concerts/

Remember, Solvang Third Wednesday events continue this summer featuring the Wine & Beer Walk (from 3-7pm), where you can enjoy 2 tastings at 5 places of your choice, for just $20 per person; plus, there an added restaurant deal: select Solvang restaurants feature a special 3-course Solvang 3rd Wednesday menu, for just $25++ per person. As a tie-in to the Solvang Farmers Market, the 3-course menus include ingredients sourced straight from the Market. Participating Solvang merchants offer 3rd Wednesday deals on merchandise. You should definitely consider spending the night with special Solvang Third Wednesday hotel discounts! Cheers to the official arrival of summer in Solvang!

Memorial Day Happenings

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is all most here.  First and foremost, on Monday, 5/29/17, at Noon in Solvang Park–join with officials, veterans, family and friends to commemorate all men and women who have died in military service for the USA. This ceremony is free, everyone is welcome to attend and will feature a performance by the Santa Ynez Wind Ensemble; speakers Rear Adm. Brian Brown, vice commander of the Joint Forces Component Command for Space at Vandenberg Air Force Base; Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans; and members of American Legion Post 160 and the Boy Scouts of America. A flyover of vintage military aircraft is also anticipated. A heartfelt thank you to all who have served esepcially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Throughout this Memorial holiday weekend, there’s certainly plenty of places and opportunities to celebrate with a  picnic! If your family is like mine, picnics in the park are a favorite. There are choices aplenty for perfect picnic settings around Solvang. First of all, did you know ALL Solvang parks are FREE and open to the public daily? Solvang Park & Gazebo right in the center of town on Mission Drive at First Street. For a more active group, check out Hans Christian Andersen Park at 775 Atterdag Road, with a skate park, play areas and tennis courts within easy walking distance of downtown. Then, there’s the super-fun, built by the community Sunny Fields Park on Alamo Pintado Road with a Danish-themed wooden play structure, swings, rope bridge, picnic area, ball field and three brand new beach volleyball courts. For more details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/

Velkommen Rancheros Visitadores!

This Saturday (5/6/17), head into downtown Solvang around 3pm to welcome more than 700 members of the Rancheros Visitadores “visiting ranchers” for their free equestrian parade. You can greet them as they head north along Alisal Road then east on Mission Drive to Old Mission Santa Ines for a gathering and blessing by the padres. Watch these handsome horses, riders and carriages stride by—once again, they will be attired in pink shirts to support the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara at Sansum Clinic to raise money for local breast cancer patients.

Afterward, the Rancheros will canter/trot/gallop 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 87th time to celebrate horsemanship, western heritage and ranching traditions. For all the happenings around town anytime, be sure to visit http://www.solvangusa.com/events/

It’s Hans Christian Andersen’s 212th Birthday on April 2nd

Are you a fan of fairy tales? April 2nd is the birth date of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the world’s most famous Danes and father of the modern fairytale—including favorites such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess & The Pea and The Ugly Duckling.  Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark on April 2, 1805 and lived until August 4, 1875 and would have been 212 years old this year! To celebrate, pay a visit to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum located at 1680 Mission Drive in the cozy second floor above The Book Loft and Solvang Coffee Company. Year-round, you can discover so much about this fascinating author. Did you know that this FREE museum is the only one in the USA dedicated to him? It’s filled to the rafters with originals and copies of Andersen’s books, sketches, paper cutouts, silhouettes and collages that kids of all ages can enjoy. And just a block away, don’t miss the bronze statue Andersen in Solvang Park. For more details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/directory/hans-christian-andersen-museum/

Hot Hot Hot!

2013 Solvang Xmas Tree Burn-Crowd Silhoueted by FlamesIf you and your family want to experience a “hot” celebration, then be sure to attend the FREE annual Solvang Christmas Tree Burn in the fields at Old Mission Santa Ines, 1760 Mission Drive in downtown Solvang from 5:00-7:00 p.m. this Friday, 1/6/17. The lyrics of the classic tune “Hot Hot Hot” really capture the action “It’s in the air – Celebration time — Keep up this spirit — Come on let’s do it — Feeling hot hot hot!”

2013 Solvang Xmas Tree Burn-Supervised+Ignited by FirefigthersThis popular annual event is supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department as one of the largest fire safety demonstrations and community gatherings on California’s Central Coast; and coordinated by the Solvang Parks & Recreation Department. There will be free, live entertainment as well as refreshments for purchase. All area residents are invited to bring their tree (stands & ornaments must be removed) to the burn pile between now and Noon on 1/6/17. Join together to see this powerful spectacle ignite the New Year and herald the end of Solvang’s annual Julefest Celebration. For more details, call Solvang Parks & Recreation at 805-688-PLAY.

Julefest er Her! (Christmas Fest is Here!)

20130424-Solvang-Julfest-gazebo_MG_9142Can 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.

2012-solvang-julefest-parade-honen_9319You & 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!

100_9139Plus, 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

Thank-Full!

SolvangFarmersMarket 7-09Are 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.

ShopSmall logoYou’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/