Glen and Michele Jacobsen.

Glen and Michele Jacobsen.

The Solvang Danish Days Foundation has announced the 2018 Solvang Danish Days grand marshals are Glen and Michele Jacobsen, of Solvang. The Jacobsens will preside over this year’s Danish Days weekend, Sept. 14-16.
Solvang Danish Days celebrates 82 years in 2018, and Jacobsen has been working behind the scenes to make the annual event happen, for more than half of that time.

The foundation bestowed the Grand Marshal title upon the Jacobsens due to their tireless efforts for Danish Days, as well as Jacobsen’s awarded involvement with a number of other community organizations and nonprofits.

“Being named Danish Days grand marshal is certainly an honor, but the main reward is actually getting to witness everyone in town that weekend, enjoying this huge production that we work so hard to bring to the community,” said Glen Jacobsen.

His Danish roots and ties to Solvang are a study in patterns of American immigration. His father, Knud Jacobsen, was born in Denmark on the island of Årø (in “Sønder Jutland”).

At the age of 18, Knud enlisted in the Danish Army and shortly thereafter, moved to the United States, where he joined his uncles on their farm, which was on the Buell Flat at the edge of downtown Solvang.

The elder Jacobsen then enlisted in the U.S. Army and was shipped overseas to Germany, but upon his return to Solvang he met Glen Jacobsen’s mother, Elizabeth Simonsen, whose parents — Jens and Marie Simonsen — were also Danish immigrants.

Simonsen’s parents had first settled in Iowa, where Elizabeth was born, eventually moving their family to Solvang in the 1940s to be with the other Danes in the growing Danish community.

Glen Jacobsen’s strong bonds to the local economy and community of Solvang are cemented in the family construction business, KJ Concrete, which Jacobsen’s father founded and ran for 20 or so years before Glen took the helm.

Jacobsen’s three daughters, Lauren, 29, (2006 Danish Maid), Lexi, 27, and Laini, 25, have all participated in Danish Days their entire lives.

Glen Jacobsen, a Solvang native, originally met his wife, Michele, in high school, after she moved to Solvang with her family in 1972. Glen and Michele later reconnected in 1998.
Glen Jacobsen has been a member and board member of the charitable Vikings of Solvang organization, and served as a past chief of the Vikings.

He is on the Board of Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, for which Michele Jacobsen also volunteers, and is a trustee for the Danish Brotherhood Solvang Lodge, as well as a past president of Solvang’s Danish Brotherhood.

In January 2016, he was awarded the Linda Johansen Spirit of the Community [Volunteer of the Year] Award by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce. The Jacobsens are also members of Solvang’s Bethania Lutheran Church.
Jacobsen has been part of the Solvang Danish Days crew since he was a child, when he started to help with set-up and tear-down of the annual festival’s infrastructure.

In 1977, prior to the founding of the Solvang Danish Days Foundation Board, he took over the Danish Days role of breakfast chairman, a post now held by Rodney Nielsen.

Jacobsen has been an active member of the board for a number of years, and has continuously assisted in the event’s planning and operation, with Michele Jacobsen by his side in Danish Days activities.
“Danish Days is a very special time of year. But I’m lucky enough to be able to be a part of this community, helping to shape its future and retain its past, all year long,” Glen Jacobsen said.
Parading through Solvang with the 2018 Danish Days Grand Marshals, will be the 2018 Danish Maid, Christiana Heron, Solvang Village Band atop the Carlsberg Beer Wagon, floats, equestrians, and Village Dancers.

Danish Days Parade line-up starts at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, on First Street, between Molle Way and Oak Street.

The Parade begins at 2:30 p.m., turning east on Copenhagen Drive, then north on Alisal Road, west on Mission Drive, south on Fourth Place, east on Copenhagen, south on Second Street, and finishing at the corner of Oak Street near Solvang City Hall.

Participation in the parade is free; parade applications are available at

The Solvang Danish Days Foundation is also seeking local nonprofits to host booths at this year’s Danish Days Kid’s Korner; a booth application is on the Danish Days web site and all forms are due by Sept. 1.
Aebleskiver breakfast tickets and Dane For A Day VIP ticket packs are available for advance, online purchase at
For more information about Solvang Danish Days, visit

— Anna Ferguson-Sparks for Danish Days.

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Marcia Heller, Noozhawk Copy Editor | @noozhawknews

— Marcia Heller is a copy editor for Noozhawk. Contact her at