Solvang Julefest full of seasonal fun

Solvang Julefest (Christmas Festival) includes the community tree lighting and a parade, concluding in January with the burning of Christmas trees at Mission Santa Ines.

Staff Report

The annual Julefest celebration in Solvang is full of entertainment and merriment from the Community Tree Lighting on Dec. 1 through the Community Christmas Tree Burn on Jan. 5.

Here are highlights of this year’s schedule:

Friday, Dec. 1

5 – 6:30 p.m.: Community Tree Lighting Ceremony in Solvang Park (Mission Drive and First Street). Enjoy free live entertainment with area bands, choirs and caroling culminating in ballerinas from Fossemale Dance Studio performing around the 20-foot tall Christmas tree. (Don’t miss the free visit and photo opportunities with Santa from 4 to 6 p.m.)

Friday-Sunday, Dec. 1-3

Shop, Mingle & Jingle, sponsored by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce and 3rd Wednesday. Discover exclusive happenings live music, discounts and deals at Solvang merchants.

Saturday, Dec. 2

11 a.m.: Julefest Parade with more than 300 participants including dancers, musical groups, vintage vehicles, horses, carriages and animals. The parade begins at Solvang Veterans Hall (1745 Mission Drive), travels west on Mission Drive, turns left on Fourth Place, turns left on Copenhagen Drive, and ends on Alisal Road near the Post Office. Be on the lookout for Santa as well as for this year’s grand marshals, the Vikings of Solvang, in their big Viking ship.

 Friday-Sunday, Dec. 8-10

Shop, Mingle & Jingle – Sponsored by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce/3rd Wednesday, discover exclusive happenings at Solvang merchants, live music, discounts and deals.

Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 9-10

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.: “Skål Stroll,” wine and beer walk. Buy a $45 two-day passport for sampling at more than a dozen wine and beer-tasting rooms throughout town. Purchase online at www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/solvang-julefest/#wine-beer-walk

Saturday, Dec. 9

5 p.m. and 7 p.m.: Nativity Pageant, also known as the “Christmas Story,” comes to life at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater (420 Second St.).  Enjoy performances by a choir, actors in traditional costumes, and live animals on stage. There are two free performances with seating on a first-come, first-entertained basis.

Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 11-12

6 – 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 – 8:45 p.m.: Holiday Lights & Sights Trolley Tour features the best of seasonal décor throughout Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley. Festive music and hot chocolate will be provided on board by Solvang Parks & Recreation Department elves. Only two trips offered each night, departing from Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, 1760 Mission Drive. Tickets are $13 per person in advance (sell-out expected). To reserve, call 805-688-7529.

Wednesday, Dec. 20

All afternoon: Solvang 3rd Wednesday Holiday Edition, throughout downtown, featuring deals at local merchants, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors; the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market from 2 – 6 p.m.; discounts at local hotels; and the 3rd Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk. Details at http://solvang3rdwednesday.com/

Friday, Jan. 5

5 – 7 p.m.: Christmas Tree Burn in the fields of Mission Santa Inés, 1760 Mission Drive, is supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department as one of the largest fire-safety demonstrations and community gatherings on California’s Central Coast. Coordinated by the Solvang Parks & Recreation Department, with live entertainment and refreshments for purchase available. Area residents are invited to bring their trees (with stands and ornaments removed) to the burn pile from Jan. 2-5, and then join to see this powerful spectacle ignite the New Year and herald the end of Julefest. For more information, call 805-688-7529.

Julefest events are presented by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) on behalf of the city of Solvang with sponsorship support from Visit Santa Ynez Valley and other area businesses.

For more detailed information about all events, visit www.SolvangUSA.com or call the SCVB at 1-800-468-6765 or 805-688-6144.