Month-Long Holiday Event to include Daily Light & Music Shows, Ongoing "Nisser Adventure" Scavenger Hunt, Nighttime Makers Market, and Newly-Added Candlelight Tours, all Happening in One of the Nation's "Most Christmassy Towns"
SOLVANG, Calif., Nov. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Solvang, California has announced additional plans and features for this year's Solvang Julefest (www.SolvangUSA.com/things-to-do/solvang-julefest; pronounced 'Yule-Fest'), the Santa Ynez Valley wine country town's annual celebration of all things "holidays." The season's event stretch will begin Friday, November 24, 2023, and run through Saturday, January 6, 2024. Solvang Julefest 2023 will include multiple holiday-themed happenings all located within the walkable California Central Coast travel destination, frequently listed as one of the nation's "most Christmassy towns."
Solvang, also known as "The Danish Capital of America," presents an ideal getaway opportunity for travelers looking for a European-style holiday atmosphere without the transatlantic travel, whether a midweek or weekend escape.
"We've added daily elements to this year's Solvang Julefest for locals and visitors in town midweek, in addition to the weekend festivities throughout Julefest," said Solvang City Manager, Randy Murphy. "In particular, we expanded one of our most popular Solvang Julefest experiences, the evening Candlelight Tours, with extra dates and for an entire week, keeping in mind families looking for entertainment once schools break for the holidays."
Solvang Julefest's daily happenings include a free Light & Music Show in Solvang Park (corner of Mission Drive and First Street), running each night from November 24 through January 6. Attendees will be treated to a choreographed light and music display on the hour, right in the center of all of Solvang's holiday magic. Two different shows will run each evening; showtimes are 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM.
Other daily Solvang Julefest activities include the now-annual Nisser Adventure, where participants join in a city-wide hunt for the mysterious Solvang Nisser (Christmas elves) which have hidden themselves throughout downtown Solvang. November 24 through January 6, Nisse-hunters of all ages may stop by the Solvang Visitor Center for a list of clues to the various hiding spots that the Nisser frequent. Once participants have found each Nisse, they may return to the Visitor Center to receive a special Solvang keepsake.
Scheduled for Wednesday, December 6, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM, is the Solvang Julefest Makers Market, which is already named one of "12 of the Merriest Christmas Markets in the United States." An open-air night market fashioned after traditional European Christmas markets, the Solvang Julefest Makers Market will feature a row of crafters and local artisans offering one-of-a-kind holiday gift ideas, seasonal treats, and more, under the stars in Solvang Park.
The popular Solvang Julefest Candlelight Tours will be offered December 8, 9, 15, and 16, and as schools traditionally pause for the holiday season, the Candlelight Tours will run weeklong, Monday, December 18, through Saturday, December 23. Starting at 5:00 PM, the Solvang Julefest Candlelight Tours will provide special holiday experiences for locals and visitors as they traverse the streets of Solvang, accompanied by Christmas carols and an entertaining education about some Danish traditions and Solvang history. Guided by a costumed host, all tour participants will receive an LED candle to hold during the tour. Advance purchase is required; ticket sales will begin in November 2023.
Solvang will shine bright with the return of the Solvang Julefest Tree Lighting Ceremony, set for Friday, December 1, 2023, at 5:00 PM in Solvang Park. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is slated to include ballerinas encircling the Solvang Christmas tree, other live entertainment, caroling, and the season-opening tree lighting at about 6:30 PM.
The following morning, Saturday, December 2, at 11:00 AM, the 2023 Solvang Julefest Parade – carrying the theme of "My Favorite Christmas Movie" – will feature marching bands, horses, classic cars, plus more parade floats and entries, all traveling along Solvang's main streets. Post-parade, Julefest presents a free opportunity to meet Mr. Claus in Solvang Park, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Solvang Julefest Santa meet-and-greets and photo ops will continue each Saturday during December (December 9, 16, 23), from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM in Solvang Park.
Closing out the Julefest festivities is the annual Solvang Christmas Tree Burn. Usually held in early January as a wrap-up of the month-long Solvang Julefest celebration, Solvang's Tree Burn is considered to be one of the largest fire safety demonstrations along the California Central Coast. The 2024 Tree Burn is currently scheduled for Friday, January 5, 5:00 PM (weather permitting).
Murphy continued, "Solvang's Danish heritage and Old World ambience keep it festive year 'round, but during Julefest, locals and visitors feel totally immersed in Solvang's Christmas spirit. Julefest gives our community, and tourists, a forum for creating holiday memories and a place to start, or continue, lasting family traditions."
Solvang, known for its Danish-American vibe, architecture and design details, pastries and bakeries, and array of wine tasting options, also boasts dozens of unique boutiques, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors. Carefully-curated indie booksellers and high-end home goods suppliers mingle with fairy tale-like children's stores and museum gift shops. Solvang's foodie destinations offer everything from elevated street cuisine – like locally-sourced fish tacos on hand-made tortillas, and comforting ramen noodles – to European-style pretzels and sausages, to Italian standbys or iconic Danish dishes, to elevated new-Californian fare in the form of Michelin-honored menus. Solvang visitors sip small-batch, locally-roasted coffee, shop for exotic, hand-bottled spice blends, or enjoy Tiki cocktails and craft beer, all part of an indulgent and one-of-a-kind holiday shopping and playing escape.
Dog-friendly and ideal for kids, Solvang Julefest promotes family fun and adventure through traditional holiday-favorite activities with the addition of more-adult, wine country entertainment.
Solvang Julefest 2023 is produced by the City of Solvang (www.CityofSolvang.com). All Solvang Julefest events are open to the public with either free or paid admission. More information and event updates will be available at www.SolvangUSA.com/things-to-do/solvang-julefest.
About the City of Solvang:
Referred to as "The Danish Capital of America," the City of Solvang is located in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, California. Founded by a group of Danish-Americans in 1911 and incorporated in 1985, Solvang offers a taste of Denmark in Southern California. Danish design and Old World charm fill Solvang's numerous interior courtyards, cozy communal spaces, and open-air venues, where vacation itineraries for all unfold. The walkable town features plentiful free parking options for locals and day-trippers, and more than 20 lodging options for staycation-ers, weekenders and midweek travelers, at all vacation budget levels. The Solvang Visitor Center, located at 1639 Copenhagen Drive, is open daily, 9:30 AM-5:30 PM (closed briefly for lunch). For more information, including travel itinerary ideas and inspiration for things to do, where to eat and drink, and places to stay, follow our adventures on Instagram and Facebook: @SolvangUSA and facebook.com/VisitSolvangUSA.
Please Note: Always check status of events and all event updates prior to making travel plans. Hi-res Solvang Julefest images are available upon request from [email protected]
To reference the article on TIME.com titled "The 9 Most Christmassy Towns in America," see: https://content.time.com/time/specials/packages
To reference the article on Veranda.com titled "12 of the Merriest Christmas Markets in the United States," see: www.veranda.com/travel/a44880393/best-christmas-market-near-me-usa
SOURCE City of Solvang