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For Kids and Viking Fans, Danish Days Festival Beats the Heat in Solvang

Undeterred by 100-degree temperatures, thousands turn out for 79th annual celebration of aebleskiver, dancing and all things Danish

Eric Zhang, 8, of Los Angeles, gets his Viking on at Solvang’s 79th Annual Danish Days Festival on Sunday. Click to view larger
Eric Zhang, 8, of Los Angeles, gets his Viking on at Solvang’s 79th Annual Danish Days Festival on Sunday. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

In the war between the aebleskiver and the heat, the aebleskiver always wins. So do the vintage Danish dancing and the family-friendly performances at Solvang Park.

Yes, tradition typically overcomes the temporary, even if it’s in the form of 100-degree temperatures, and few traditions are stronger than Solvang’s 79th Annual Danish Days Festival.

Thousands of locals and tourists turned out for the three-day event, which included free concerts, a parade, kids activities and plenty of performances.

“This is great,” said Eric Zhang, an 8-year-old visiting with his parents from Los Angeles on Sunday.

The boy was enjoying the Viking Encampment, where he dressed up in a borrowed traditional Viking headdress, and carried a sword and shield. The angry, growling, teeth-revealing snarl for his parents’ camera was his own.

The elder Zhangs were thrilled that their boy embraced his Viking heritage. Whether real or not, a boy can imagine he’s Leif Erikson, can’t he? In the melting pot of Solvang, of course he can.

“It’s a great day,” said his father, Anthony Zhang. “This is like a part of history.”

As part of the Danish Days Festival entertainment, Scotty & Trink perform their signature leapfrog maneuver while juggling swords. Click to view larger
As part of the Danish Days Festival entertainment, Scotty & Trink perform their signature leapfrog maneuver while juggling swords. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Mom Theresa chimed in: “It’s educational.”

This year’s 2015 Danish Maid was Mia Anderson. She opened and closed the ceremonies on Friday and Sunday. Events included an aebleskiver-eating contest, live dancing, a children’s parade, an Old World Artisans Marketplace, along with some of the traditional festival events, including a beer garden, bouncer and plenty of sno-cones.

Scotty & Trink entertained the crowd Sunday afternoon with their rousing juggling act, complete with green bowling pins, fire sticks, a unicycle, a straight jacket, and, of course, the obligatory volunteers.

The juggling couple jabbed hilarious one-liners at each other throughout the act, but then wowed the crowd with one of their signature moves: Scott Meltzer leapfrogging Katrine Spang-Hanssen, as she tossed three swords from underneath into his hands.

The crowd, and the kids mostly, cheered wildly at their act, the kind of moment that entertained a kid like 8-year-old Eric Zhang and the thousands of others this weekend at the Danish Days Festival.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Dancers take to the streets as part of the festivities at Solvang’s Danish Days Festival. Click to view larger
Dancers take to the streets as part of the festivities at Solvang’s Danish Days Festival. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
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