Julefest combines new events, old traditions

Costumed volunteers from the Solvang Visitors Center took groups throughout Solvang to enjoy the magic of Julefest by candelight.

Staff Report

With “A Danish Tradition” as the celebration’s theme, Solvang sparkled once again during the 2017 Julefest.

Amelia Lahr enjoys one of the candelight tours during Solvang’s Julefest, one of many new additions to the annual celebration.

“Solvang is all about traditions. We don’t look like modern Denmark. We carry on the traditions handed down … . It is that charm of Solvang’s old traditions that make this place so special, and when you throw Christmas into the mix, the results are truly magical,” said Special Programs Manager Daniel Lahr of the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau, which organizes the celebration.

The event held true in celebrating traditions with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Julefest Parade and nearly 2,000 visits with Santa during his trips from the North Pole.

Added this year was the Nisse Adventure, a scavenger hunt that took people around town and had them search for mischievous elf-like Danish figures hidden in 12 different locations around Solvang. Approximately 1,250 families participated, and 750 prizes were collected from the Visitors Center.

In addition, costumed tour guides took more than 500 people on five candlelight tours around town throughout Julefest.

“Seeing everyone walking around with candles added greatly to the atmosphere and magic,” Lahr added.

More than 300 people attended the modified wine and beer walk, now known as the Skål Stroll, on Dec. 9-10. The new gløgg contest allowed participants to vote for their favorite version of gløgg, a mulled wine.  Sort This Out Wine Cellars won the inaugural event.

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The 2017 Julefest concluded Jan. 5 with the annual Christmas Tree Burn at Mission Santa Ines.

The event, coordinated by the Solvang Parks and Recreation Department and supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, is billed as one of the largest fire safety demonstrations and community holiday gatherings on California’s Central Coast.