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Tuesday, January 15 , 2019, 3:54 pm | Rain Fog/Mist 53º


Tree Burn Culminates Annual Julefest Celebration in Solvang

Popular event supervised by the county Fire Department takes place near Mission Santa Ines


Santa Ynez Valley residents wrapped up the month-long Julefest celebration Friday night with the annual Christmas tree burn.

The event held near Mission Santa Ines ends the Christmas celebration that included a parade and other events organized by the city of Solvang Parks and Recreation Department.

The city has allowed residents to discard their trees — minus stands and ornaments — to a pile on an empty lot in the days leading up the annual burn. 

The tree burn also included live music by the Soul Cats as well as refreshments for purchase.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department provided a fire-safety demonstration to drive home the dangers of dry trees.

This year’s tree burn sparked concerns on social media from residents who noted the still-uncontained Thomas Fire which started one month and a day ago in Ventura County before spreading to Santa Barbara County and became the largest blaze in state history.

Engine crews from nearby county fire stations also were on standby during the city event as a precaution to ensure embers did not spread. 

“It’s something the community enjoys," said Mike Eliason, a county Fire Department spokesman. "We are going there to support it happening and make sure it's done safety.”

As an alternative to the burn this year, some residents opted to instead have their trees turned into mulch. 

Julefest also includes a tree-lighting ceremony, a wine and beer walk and a live Nativity pageant among other events.

Organizers already have set tentative dates for the 2018 celebration, set to kick off Dec. 7 with a tree-lighting ceremony followed by the parade Dec. 8.

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.

Attendees at the annual Christmas tree burn at Mission Santa Ines in Solvang Friday night use their cell phones to capture the action. Click to view larger
Attendees at the annual Christmas tree burn at Mission Santa Ines in Solvang Friday night use their cell phones to capture the action. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

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