Santa Maria Sun / Eats
S'mores and more! Solvang ups the ante this holiday season with Julefest
BY WENDY THIES SELL
Solvang is pulling out the stops this December to live up to its festive reputation.
Two years ago, Time magazine named Solvang one of “The 9 Most Christmassy Towns in America.”
The so-called Danish Capital of America will likely exceed expectations this year with its annual holiday extravaganza, Julefest, a whole month of holiday cheer.
With an outdoor ice-skating rink, Christmas trees throughout downtown, the Julefest parade, a nativity pageant, the Solvang Holiday Wine About, and S’moresFest, Solvang is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
Thousands of twinkling lights are turned on throughout the month of December, kicking off a citywide Christmas tree display in which 130 businesses will decorate and light living trees along the streets in Solvang’s shopping district.
The city’s 50-foot evergreen—standing in Solvang Park at the corner of Mission Drive and First Street—will be lit in a tree-lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 6, starting at 5 p.m. This is the night that Santa Claus comes to town early!
New this year is Solvang on Ice, Dec. 6 through the 8.
Julefest organizers are erecting an outdoor ice-skating rink in Solvang Park, with skating beginning daily at 9 a.m. and continuing through the day until 9 p.m. Skating sessions will be reserved in advance via ticketing.
The annual Julefest Parade begins at 11 a.m. on
Saturday, Dec. 7 at Old Mission Santa Ines, and will continue west on Mission Drive, through downtown, and end on Alisal Road at the post office.
Good little boys and girls can whisper their Christmas wish lists in Santa’s ear and have their picture taken with him after the parade in Solvang Park.
The Solvang Holiday Wine About on Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, December 15 allows wine and beer lovers to take a souvenir glass to more than 20 wine and beer tasting rooms in the village of Solvang.
Participating businesses include Toccata, Cali Love, Lucas and Lewellen, Solvang Brewing Company, and many more. Root 246 in Hotel Corque is also offering cocktail samples to “wine walk” participants.
The $40 pass is good for two days of tasting and a wine walk map. Attendees will taste two or three selections at each location.
New this year is a mobile app attendees can use to check in and remember their favorite places.
But, wait—there’s more! A sweet addition to Solvang’s Julefest lineup this year is S’moresFest.
On Saturday, Dec. 14, Solvang Park will be transformed in a larger-than-life candyland.
First Street between Mission Drive and Park Way will be shut down and fire pits will line the street. S’moresFest attendees will roast marshmallows and build their own s’mores using a large selection of locally produced candies and baked goods.
Imagine building s’mores out of Belgian waffle cookies from Mortensen’s Danish Bakery, or fresh handmade chocolates from Ingeborg’s, or dare we suggest aebleskivers? It could happen!
Organizers brought together Solvang’s well-known bakeries, chocolatiers, and sweet shops and challenged them to provide fun sweets for the festival’s s’mores bar.
“People are making s’mores out of more than just graham crackers and Hershey bars these days,” Julefest event director Holly Holliday said.
“I want the craziest cookies and types of chocolates; white chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate with caramel in it,” she added. “We want people to go crazy and dream up a crazy s’more.”
S’moresFest runs from 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 14.
For $10, participants receive two marshmallows to roast and two visits to the S’mores Bar. Hot chocolate is included. The band The Molly Ringwald Project will entertain the crowd with 1980s covers of holiday songs. S’moresFest is expected to sell out.
Tickets for Solvang on Ice, the Solvang Holiday Wine About, and S’moresFest are on sale at julefestsolvang.com. Most Solvang shops will stay open late during these Julefest events, allowing visitors to do some Christmas shopping.
Holliday encourages you to “come down and use this time as your time to get your unique holiday gifts in Solvang—the stuff you can’t find at Walmart.”
The Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau sponsors Solvang’s Julefest.
Sun wine and food columnist Wendy Thies Sell is dreaming of a white, ooey-gooey, marshmallow-filled Christmas. Contact her at email@example.com.