Solvang’s annual celebration of all things holiday, known as the Solvang Julefest, began Saturday and will run through January 1.
“Solvang’s Julefest festivities are making a triumphant return this year, after last year’s highly modified version of the beloved annual event. We will still have some slight modifications in place this year to accommodate the ongoing pandemic, but we will also be introducing some new Julefest elements for the enjoyment of our locals and visitors. Solvang Julefest is an iconic holiday season ‘thing’ along California’s Central Coast. It shines a twinkly light on Solvang’s Danish heritage. We’re so excited to be able to bring it back this year, for everyone looking for a little bit of a European holiday in Southern California,” said Scott Shuemake, president of IDK Events, planners and organizers of Solvang Julefest 2021.
Oprah Daily named the Solvang one of the “Most Magical Christmas Towns and Villages Across the World,” with the festival featuring multiple holiday happenings within walking distancel.
The Solvang Julefest Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled to return on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Solvang Park, on the corner of Mission Drive and First Street. The tree lighting ceremony will kick off the Christmas season and is set to include live entertainment, caroling and ballerinas encircling the tree. In addition, the Solvang Julefest Parade is scheduled to return Saturday at 11 a.m.
The village will once again host its annual Nisse Adventure, where participants join in a city-wide hunt for the mysterious Solvang Nisse (Christmas elves), who will hide themselves throughout downtown Solvang. Elf-trackers may visit www.NisseAdventure.com, where they will find animated videos containing clues to the various hiding spots which the Nisse frequents. Once guests find each Nisse they scan a QR code to continue along the adventure, earning a special prize at completion.
Saturdays throughout the Julefest stretch, town-wide Solvang Food Tours will be led by the foodie – and photo – experts at Eat This, Shoot That!, and the popular evening Candlelight Tours will return select Saturday nights (Dec. 4, 11 and 18), tickets for which include holiday-themed refreshments and a VIP Santa meet and greet experience. Either tour option presents a unique, educational, and entertaining way to explore the history-filled village on foot during the most festive of Solvang’s seasons.
Below is a schedule of some of the featured events. More information will be available at www.SolvangJulefest.org.
Friday, Dec. 3, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
— Tree Lighting ceremony in Solvang Park. Guests who attend the Julefest Tree Lighting ceremony in Solvang Park will be treated to live music and dance performances by the Santa Ynez Valley Wind Ensemble, the Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band, Fossemalle Dance Studio, and a special appearance by the Valley’s own Dewey Roberts.
Saturday, Dec. 4 at 11:00 a.m.
— Julefest Parade. The 2021 Julefest Parade will boast a new route, similar to Solvang’s July Fourth Parade. The parade entrants, which number nearly 40 as of today, will line up at Lot 72, proceeding north on Alisal Road, turning left onto Copenhagen Drive, left/south on Second Street, with a final stroll down Oak Street as the participants head back to Lot 72. A majority of this year’s entrants are floats, marking a grand return of one of everyone’s favorite Julefest attractions.
— Elverhoj Museum “Makers Market” at the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will also be open on Dec. 11 and 18.
Saturday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
— Solvang Nativity Pageant. The pageant, also known as the “Christmas Story,” comes to life with live music, actors, and animals.
Saturdays, Dec. 11 and 18
— Solvang Food Tours (Holiday edition) led by the food and photo pros at Eat This, Shoot That!
Early January 2022 — TBD
— Tree Burn. The event has not yet been finalized; further announcements will be issued as plans for this finale fall into place.