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Celebrating ‘The Gift of Peace,’ Annual Julefest Parade Rolls Through Solvang

Santa Ynez Valley residents and tourists line streets to see 50 entries and 300 participants welcome holiday season in style

Decked out in Danish gear and sporting a Christmas theme, this couple was among a group riding Danish-made Nimbus motorcycles that won the Best Vehicle Award in Solvang’s annual Julefest parade. Click to view larger
Decked out in Danish gear and sporting a Christmas theme, this couple was among a group riding Danish-made Nimbus motorcycles that won the Best Vehicle Award in Solvang’s annual Julefest parade. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Floats, cars, horses, musicians and dancers delivered “The Gift of Peace” in downtown Solvang on Saturday for the annual Julefest Parade.

More than 50 entries boasting approximately 300 participants traveled along Mission and Copenhagen drives and other streets for the 2015 edition of the Christmas parade, which began and ended at Mission Santa Inés.

Longtime Santa Ynez Valley residents and tourists alike lined the sidewalks for the procession that is part of the month-long celebration of the Christmas season.

“Let’s face it, Solvang is all about celebrations,” said Laura Kath, who marked her seventh year as the volunteer parade announcer.

Riding in a place of honor as grand marshals for Solvang’s parade were members of the Danish Days Foundation, responsible for organizing the community’s annual Danish festival celebration each September.

The Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau organized the parade on behalf of the City of Solvang and with the help of many sponsors.

“We have a lot of sponsors that come together each year to make this Julefest celebration a reality,” Kath said.

While longtime residents watching from the sidewalks shouted out at participants by name, tourists posed for pictures as entries traveled along Mission Drive.

Afterward, the Solvang Nativity Pageant was named the winner of the Best Overall Entry Award while Old Mission Santa Inés captured honors for the entry best representing the theme, according to the panel of judges.

Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson rides in Saturday’s Julefest Parade. Click to view larger
Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson rides in Saturday’s Julefest Parade. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The Best Float Award went to State Farm’s Julie Tipolt’s Toy Town entry.

The top equestrian award went to the Santa Ynez Valley Pony Club.

Best Performance Group Award was Cruz Dance & Entertainment while 3HAB received the Best Musical Award.

A group riding Danish-made Nimbus motorcycles won the Best Vehicle Award.

Solvang launched its Julefest celebration Friday night with a downtown tree-lighting ceremony that included music and dancers.

Events will continue through the month, and will include the Julefest Holiday Wine & Beer Walk on Dec. 12 and 13, the traditional Nativity Pageant with two performances on Dec. 12, and Shop, Mingle & Jingle retail specials the first two weekends of December.

Additionally, Santa Claus will be available at Solvang Park, at Mission Drive and First Street, with visits free and on a first-come, first-served basis. Visits will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, plus 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 12.

Solvang Julefest will wrap up Jan. 8 with the annual Christmas tree burn at the Mission.

Click here for more information on the Solvang Julefest Parade.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

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