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Most Christmassy Town on the Central Coast Prepares for Solvang Julefest

Solvang, named one of Time Magazine’s “Most Christmassy Towns in America” will sparkle again during the 2015 annual Julefest (pronounced Yule-Fest) from Dec. 1, 2015, through Jan. 8, 2016. 

This year’s theme is “The Gift of Peace” and will feature free visits with Santa in Solvang Park; Shop, Mingle & Jingle weekends; a Holiday Wine & Beer Walk; more than 100 decorated trees throughout the village; the traditional community tree-lighting ceremony; a Julefest Parade and Nativity pageant.

Plus, there will be many open houses at local retailers, special concerts and more taking place throughout the season — with activities continually being updated at www.SolvangUSA.com.

Throughout Solvang, more than 150 one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty shops offer everything from clogs to Danish porcelain to handmade lace, leather, iron art, jewelry, clothing, elegant antiques and collectibles, beautiful imported objects, vibrant arts and crafts and colorful home furnishings.

Toy and novelty stores offer playful options for stocking stuffers and gifts for kids of all ages. The incredible variety of retail options makes Solvang a perfect destination to shop for gifts while creating holiday memories. 

According to Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Tracy Farhad, “We have received word from the North Pole that Santa Claus has confirmed his appearances in Solvang this year along with free photo opportunities for the whole family. We’re thrilled to welcome Julemanden (the Christmas Man in Danish) into Solvang Park at the corner of Mission Drive & First Street.” 

Here’s when to find Santa in Solvang: Friday, Dec. 4, from 4–8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 5, from 12:30–4:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 6, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Solvang Julefest events are presented by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau on behalf of the City of Solvang with sponsorship support from Visit Santa Ynez Valley and other area businesses.

All Solvang Julefest events are open to the public with free admission (excluding the Julefest Holiday Wine & Beer Walk).

For more information, please call 805.688.6144; stop by the Solvang Visitors Center at 1639 Copenhagen Drive (open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and visit www.SolvangUSA.com.

2015 Solvang Julefest Highlights

» Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, 5–6:30 p.m.: Community Tree Lighting Ceremony in Solvang Park (Mission Drive & First Street). Enjoy free live entertainment with area bands, choirs and caroling culminating in ballerinas from Fossemale Dance Studio performing around the tree. 

» Friday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, and Friday, Dec. 11 through Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015: Sponsored by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce and Third Wednesday, discover dozens of merchant-driven events and happenings at Shop, Mingle & Jingle.

» Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, 11 a.m.: Over 250 participants including dancers, musical groups, vintage vehicles, horses, carriages and animals will join the Julefest Parade. The parade originates at Solvang Veterans Hall (1745 Mission Drive) travels west on Mission Drive, turns left on Fourth Place, turns left on Copenhagen Drive, and ends on Alisal Road near the village Post Office. Be on the lookout for Santa, as well as the soon-to-be-named 2015 Grand Marshal. 

» Saturday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Solvang Julefest Wine & Beer Walk features more than 15 wine and beer tasting rooms throughout the village offering samplings including: Casa Cassara, Dascomb Cellars, Lions Peak, Lost Point, Lucas & Lewellen, Lucky Dogg Winery, Olive House, Pace, Presidio Winery, Royal Oaks, Sevtap, Sort This Out Cellars, The Good Life, Toccata and Wandering Dog Wine Bar and more to be announced. Tickets are $40 per person (must be 21 years or older) for the 2-day pass, which includes a souvenir wine glass. 

» Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, 5–7 p.m.: The Nativity pageant, also known as the Christmas story, comes to life at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater (420 Second Street).  Enjoy a choir, actors in traditional costumes and live animals on stage. There are two free performances with seating on a first come, first entertained basis. (In the unlikely event of rain, performances will be held at an alternate location to be announced).

» Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, 6–7:15 and 7:30–8:45 p.m.: Christmas Lights & Sights Trolley Tours feature the best of holiday décor throughout Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley. Seasonal music and hot chocolate will be served on board by Solvang Parks & Recreation Department elves. Only two trips offered, each departing from Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, 1760 Mission Drive. Tickets are $13 per person in advance or at the door, yet expected to sell out. To reserve seats, call 805.688.7529. 

» Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015: Solvang Third Wednesday Holiday Edition will feature deals at local merchants, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors throughout the village; the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market; discounts at local hotels; and the Third Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk.

» Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, 5–7 p.m.: Solvang's annual Christmas Tree Burn in the fields of Old Mission Santa Inés, 1760 Mission Drive will be supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department as one of the largest fire safety demonstrations and community gatherings on California's Central Coast. It is coordinated by the Solvang Parks & Recreation Department. Live entertainment and refreshments for purchase will be available.

All area residents are invited to bring their tree (with stands and ornaments removed) to the burn pile between Jan 3–9, 2016, and then join together to see this powerful spectacle ignite the New Year and herald the end of Solvang's Julefest Celebration. For more information on this one-of-its-kind event, call 805.688.7529.

For more detailed information about all events, please visit www.SolvangUSA.com or call the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau at 1.800.468.6765 or 805.688.6144. 

— Laura Kath is a publicist representing Solvang Julefest.

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