In 1911, three immigrants from Denmark purchased over 9,000 acres of land in the Santa Ynez Valley. It was their dream to create a Danish colony. They advertised in Danish newspapers and sold tracks of land to other Danish immigrants.
Solvang quickly grew. After World War II ended, the town was designed with Danish provincial architecture (including thatched roofs), cobblestone streets, Danish-style windmills, and streets with names based on place names in Denmark.
Places to see include the Hans Christian Anderson Museum, the Elverhoj Museum, and The Copenhagen House.
In the weeks before Christmas, Solvang comes alive for Julefest. The official Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes place on the first Friday of December and the Santa Claus Parade is the next day. Christmas decorations include a 10 ft. tall gingerbread house in the lobby of the Royal Scandinavian Hotel.
There are craft demonstrations at the Elverhoj Museum and Danish Christmas treats at Olsen's Bakery. Browse for gifts and decorations in the local shops including Jul Hus which has Christmas decorations all year long.
Culinary events during the weeks leading up to Christmas include the Farmers Market Chef Walks, Beer and Wine Walk, Holiday Wine & Truffle Pairing, and the Holiday Sparkling & Cheese Pairing. The Holiday Art Show at Solvang Antiques is the perfect place to pick up unique guests.
Events that are not to be missed include the Festival of Carols and the Live Nativity Pageant with real animals.
The annual Christmas tree burn in early January marks the end of the festive season.
Photo Credit: SolvangUSA