On a crisp Friday evening, hundreds of Santa Ynez Valley residents and visitors turned out for the annual tree-lighting ceremony at Solvang Park: Solvang Julefest 2009 — Village of Music.

Revelers enjoyed performances by the Valley Wind Ensemble, Fossemalle Dancers, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School Chorus and Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church Choir — all coordinated by Alan Satchwell, local musician and vocalist. The culmination of the 75-minute program was the lighting of Solvang’s Christmas tree by Cameron Clarno, music director at Santa Ynez High, followed by Fossemalle ballerinas dancing around the illuminated tree. Guests were welcomed by Mayor Jim Richardson and his wife, Jeannette.

Solvang Julefest festivities continue Saturday with the traditional Julefest Parade starting at 11 a.m. at Mission Santa Ines, 1760 Mission Drive, and proceeding west on Mission to Fourth Place to Copenhagen Drive and back to the Mission. Parade grand marshals are Santa and Mrs. Claus, who made a brief visit to Solvang Park prior to the tree-lighting celebration — and welcomed kids of all ages and pets, too!

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Glaedelig Jul (Merry Christmas) from Solvang!

— Laura Kath is media relations director of the Solvang Visitors Bureau.