Danish Days
From left, Jin Ai Jones, Grant Jones and Alana Jones have fun while posing for a picture on a Viking ship at Solvang Park during Danish Days on Saturday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
  • From left, Jin Ai Jones, Grant Jones and Alana Jones have fun while posing for a picture on a Viking ship at Solvang Park during Danish Days on Saturday.
  • The Vikings encampment at Solvang Park provides armaments and other gear so visitors can pose for pre-battle pictures. Danish Days will continue Sunday in Solvang.
  • An axe-thrower celebrates a bullseye Saturday at Danish Days.
  • The axe-throwing booth was a hit at Solvang’s Danish Days.
  • A near bullseye earns a high-five at the axe-throwing exhibit during Danish Days.
  • A castle floats through Solvang during Saturday’s Danish Days.

With participants making hesitant tosses and huge pitches, axe throwing proved to be a popular attraction during its debut Saturday at Danish Days in Solvang.

The 83rd annual Danish Days began Friday with Danish Maid Gillian Nielsen reigning over the 2019 celebration, which ends Sunday.

An axe-throwing arena, otherwise known as chain-link fencing to prevent the flying axes from going astray, attracted a steady line of would-be competitors representing all ages and skills.

“It’s been good,” said Otis Garnette from Axehole Vegas. “We’re been having fun.”

Hot weather, with a high of 91 degrees on Saturday, didn’t deter people from trying their hand at hitting a bullseye, with cheers from the crowd as an axe stuck to the target and groans when it fell to the ground.

Axe throwing is all about technique, according to Garnette.

“We love that it evens the playing field because anybody can do it — men, women, kids,” he explained. “Just get the technique down.

“It’s both learning a new skill as a sport as well as very therapeutic,” he added. “A lot of people tell us there’s nothing like throwing an axe and sticking an axe. We enjoy that, too.”

While axe throwing won’t be offered on the final day of the Danish-themed festival, a lot of other popular activities can be found Sunday.

The beloved aebleskiver breakfast will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday on Copenhagen Drive and First Street. Tickets cost $8 per person or $9 with Danish sausage.

An aebleskiver cooking demonstration will occur from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of Solvang Restaurant, 1672 Copenhagen Drive.

And hungry competitors of all ages will get to show off their aebleskiver-eating skills during a competition at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the Midgaard Pavilion in Parking Lot 2, downtown Solvang, adjacent to the Danish Days Viking Beer & Wine Garden.

Competitive eater and eating challenge queen Raina Huang also will join the field of consuming the round Danish dough balls.

The Ravens of Odin, a Norse educational group, also will continue hosting their encampment Sunday in Solvang Park while the Old World Artisans Marketplace will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide a Nordic shopping district of finely crafted items, on First Street.

The Children’s Parade will begin at Atterdag Square (corner of Atterdag Road and Copenhagen Drive) and meanders down Copenhagen to Solvang Park. All children and families are welcome to join this event. Admission is free and costumes are encouraged.

The 2019 festival will close with a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Children’s Parade is one of three scheduled during the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, Grand Marshals Allie and Ken Andersen rode in a place of honor for the day’s parade.

The 2019 Danish Days theme — “A Salute to Denmark’s Flag: Celebrating 800 Years of Dannebrog” — meant the red and white banner blanketed Solvang for the weekend.

While the event marked its 83rd edition this year, the city’s festival celebrating the community’s heritage has been organized by the nonprofit Solvang Danish Days Foundation since 1995.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.