Beauty and the Beast Opens PCPA Summer Season on June 15th

Have you discovered Solvang Festival Theater yet? This 700-seat outdoor venue in the half-round hosts marvelous live concerts, plays, musicals and comedies; and was built by community volunteers in only 58 days in summer 1974. For the 43rd summer in this magical setting, PCPA (Pacific Conservatory Theatre) professional performances are presented under the stars featuring acclaimed actors and stunning sets. Highlights of the 2017 PCPA summer season are Beauty and the Beast (June 15-July 2) a musical version based on the classic fairy tale; Lend Me A Tenor The Musical (July 6-23) a tale of mistaken identities and unexpected romance; Disney’s Newsies The Musical (July 27-August 20) is a Tony Award-winning Broadway show telling the true story of those who took on the most powerful names in New York; and concluding with Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night (August 24-September 10). Solvang Festival Theater is located at 420 Second Street within easy walking distance of hotels, restaurants and wine tasting rooms. You should definitely check out PCPA overnight packages as well as dinner specials available to really enjoy your experience. Here are all the details:

Naturally Wonderful: Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

Just 15 minutes from downtown Solvang, you and yours can discover all the natural wonders of Cachuma Lake Recreation Areawith winter rains, the lake itself is over 50% full and vibrant as ever. There’s so much to do (or not to do) at Cachuma—from hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing and fishing plus amazing guided nature cruises aboard The Osprey, a 30-passenger pontoon boat. You can see deer, herons, hawks, and the resident bald eagle pair if you’re lucky (not to mention some amazing flora, especially this year). Cachuma is a gorgeous place for a relaxing day or a picnic on the shore, a hike or a stroll.There is a general store, marina plus the very interactive Neal Taylor Nature Center. Year-round, there’s free Nature Hikes leaving from the Center at 10am on Saturday mornings plus the Junior Ranger Program. Park admission is only $10 per car and so worth it! For more details and directions, visit

Time to Tee Off!

Spring has sprung and there are more hours of daylight—so plenty of time for you and/or someone you know to get out and play more golf (just like they’re doing this week in Augusta at the Masters Tournament–I’ve actually attended five times and it is magnificent there—yet here we can play year-round—so much better!)  So get ready to shout “fore” in style at some magnificent courses that are even lusher now that the drought has abated. Surrounded by rolling hills, ranches and vineyards, our local golf courses definitely have some great scenery to enhance your play time.

Just five minutes from downtown Solvang, The River Course at The Alisal is situated on the banks of the Santa Ynez River against a backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and was prominently featured in the 2004 Oscar-winning movie Sideways; plus the River Terrace overlooking the course is a delicious place for breakfast and/or lunch. In the nearby Santa Rita Hills wine country west of Buellton, check out La Purisima Golf Course created by world-renowned course architect Robert Muir in 1986 on 309 acres. Zaca Creek Golf Course is a sweet 9-hole, par-29 public course in Buellton. Rancho San Marcos gracefully saddles the natural topography meandering amid a plethora of ancient oaks just 30 minutes away down Scenic Highway 154. For complete details on where to tee off, visit


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.

Dare You Enter the Haunted House & Halloween StreetFest?

2_halloween2016So, 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!

Experience “In the Heights” at PCPA Now Thru September 11

In the heights logo - CopyYou don’t want to miss this superb performance of In the Heights by an outstanding PCPA cast at Solvang Festival Theater, 420 Second Street, in downtown Solvang. In the Heights won a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008 and there is no doubt why. The music and lyrics are by Lin Manuel-Miranda, the creator of the current Broadway hit Hamilton. The setting is New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood—a place on the precipice of change, hopes and dreams. This show is about discovering yourself and finding your true home–against any odds. I attended the opening night show and want to tell you that this musical is honest, raw, contemporary and yet has timeless themes. It’s especially poignant while you can watch the stars onstage AND in the sky! This is the final show of the 2016 PCPA summer season in Solvang. For details and tickets, visit

Jane Austen’s “Sense & Sensibility” on Stage

stacks-image-b407f35There’s something magical about live theater under the stars! PCPA (Pacific Conservatory Theatre) performances in Solvang Festival Theater are wonderful ways to spend summer evenings. So far this season, we’ve enjoyed The Glass Menagerie and Shrek The Musical. Starting this Saturday, August 5 through Sunday, August 21, 2016, savor Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. This period comedy shares the journey of two sisters—Elinor and Marianne Dashwood—attempting to find balance between rational and realistic romance (if that is even possible)! You can get your tickets at the Festival Theater box office located at 420 Second Street or online at

stacks-image-abcfe21Check out this deal—buy tickets online for the Sunday, August 7 performance and receive 50% off EACH adult ticket at online check-out by using AUGUST7. On Solvang Third Wednesday (August 17) Sense & Sensibility adult tickets are 25% off (and be sure to ask about seasonal senior, student, or child ticket pricing—do remember, kids under 5 are not admitted into the theater.) Solvang Festival Theater is within easy walking distance of hotels, restaurants, wine bars and local attractions. So attend and  discover how just the right mix of humor and romance can make for happy endings in Sense & Sensibility!