2020 Danish Maid Isabella Lopez, 2021 Danish Maid Kayla Bandel and 2022 Danish Maid Aleena Madrid.
Three years of Danish Maids will share duties at the 2022 Danish Festival after the event had to pause the past two years. Pictured are, from left, 2020 Danish Maid Isabella Lopez, 2021 Danish Maid Kayla Bandel and 2022 Danish Maid Aleena Madrid. (Mike Mesikep photo)

Danish Days will return for 2022 to mark the 85th celebration of Solvang’s heritage, bringing back tasty traditions and launching new attractions. 

Events begin Friday and continue through Sunday with the theme of “Velkommen Igen,” Danish for “welcome again” after COVID-19 prevented the 2020 and 2021 events.

“After a two-year hiatus, everybody’s ready to go for Danish Days,” said Max Hanberg, who has been involved in a Danish Days since the early 1970s and before the creation of the current organizer, the nonprofit Danish Days Foundation. “It looks like the weather’s going to be perfect for us, which is always a big concern.”

This weekend’s weather is expected to be in the 70s, much cooler than the triple-digit temperatures that baked the Santa Ynez Valley last week.

Hanberg said he is looking forward to the return of the aebleskiver breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday.

“We don’t make them at home, so I’m looking forward to getting some of those,” he said. 

He also noted the new Kids’ Corner and Lego Building Contest with professional builders.

“That’s new. We’ve never had that before (at Danish Days),” Hanberg said.

Visitors can expect to see triple when it comes to Danish Maids as the celebration will include the ladies for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The royal trio includes 2022 Danish Maid Aleena Madrid, the third generation in her family to don the title. She will preside alongside previously announced 2020 and 2021 Danish Maids Isabella Lopez and Kayla Bandel.

The action will start Friday with axe throwing and a Torchlight Parade at 7:30 p.m. and end at opening ceremonies at 8 p.m. on the Midgaard Pavilion.

The aebleskiver breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Copenhagen Drive and First Street. The meal cost is $10 per person or $12 with Danish sausage. Tickets are available online in advance. Otherwsie, only cash will be accepted for tickets purchased at the event entrance.

Aebleskiver-eating contests also will return, with competitions at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

2020 Danish Maid Isabella Lopez, 2021 Danish Maid Kayla Bandel and 2022 Danish Maid Aleena Madrid.

From left are 2021 Danish Maid Kayla Bandel, 2020 Danish Maid Isabella Lopez and 2022 Danish Maid Aleena Madrid. (Mike Mesikep photo)

The Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, 1624 Elverhoy Way, will host a living history day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  with a free, interactive history lesson for all ages plus the chance for a selfie at the Viking photo stop stocked with costumes and props.

The Danish Days Parade will kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday with assorted entries, including the Solvang Village Band atop the Carlsberg Beer Wagon and traveling from the staging area on First Street, between Molle Way and Oak Street. The route will take entries 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 finish at the corner of Oak Street near Solvang City Hall.

Other features include the Old World Artisans Marketplace on First Street, rune reader Tracey Boyer, storyteller Randel McGee as Hans Christian Andersen, a beer and wine garden, free concerts, and guided Solvang food and photo tours.

On Sunday, the event will wrap up with a Children’s Parade at 2 p.m., starting at Atterdag Square (corner of Atterdag Road and Copenhagen Drive) and concluding in Solvang Park. 

The Danish Days closing ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday will include all three Danish Maids and include the announcement of the Lego Building Competition. 

The Lego Building Competition will feature three of the state’s top builders crafting their own interpretations of various Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. Building will take place from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. Saturday plus 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday near the The Little Mermaid Fountain (northwest corner of Mission Drive and Alisal Road); next to Mortensen’s Danish Bakery, in the courtyard facing Mission Drive (1588 Mission Drive) and at the sculpture of Hans Christian Andersen in Solvang Park (corner of Mission Drive and First Street).

Creations will be based on “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Pea” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

The full schedule of events plus aebleskiver breakfast tickets or the Dane for a Day VIP ticket bundle are available by clicking here.

.— 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.