— The Charitable Solvang Danish Days Foundation Announces
Preliminary 2017 Event Weekend Schedule and Tickets Now on Sale —
June 27, 2017 – Solvang, CA – California’s premier Danish heritage festival, “Solvang Danish Days” (www.solvangdanishdays.org), celebrates its 81st anniversary this year with a three-day event weekend line-up set for Friday through Sunday, September 15 through 17, 2017. The 2017 Solvang Danish Days theme – “Solvang – How Sweet It Is!” – will be observed during this year’s event, which honors the 1911 establishment of Solvang by Danish-Americans.
Solvang Danish Days 2017 will once again provide attendees with a total Danish immersion experience, while helping to preserve Solvang’s authentic Danish heritage, and will offer an on-line purchase only “Dane For A Day” VIP ticket bundle, for guests looking to “live like Vikings” throughout the event weekend. In addition to the VIP ticket package, those looking to gain quicker entrance to either Saturday or Sunday’s Aebleskiver Breakfasts, may now purchase tickets for either day’s Breakfast on-line, in advance. All advance, on-line tickets are now available, here: solvang-danish-days-2017.eventbrite.com.
Since Solvang Danish Days’ modest beginnings in 1936, when the festival debuted to commemorate the village’s 25th anniversary, the event has set out to celebrate Solvang’s Danish heritage with authentic food, music, dancing, parades, live entertainment and family activities. In 1946, a reporter from then-influential The Saturday Evening Post, visited Solvang during Danish Days and the resulting article, which appeared in January 1947, put Solvang on the proverbial map. The article stated, in part, “Solvang…a spotless Danish village that blooms like a rose in California’s charming Santa Ynez Valley. Old country charm and customs have been successfully fused with the American way of life. Nowadays…the quaint village is busy living up to its affectionate name, ‘Little Denmark’.”
As Danish Days nears its 81st birthday, the festival continues to mesh “old country charm and customs” with a more modern “way of life”, through its varied activities that meld present-day Danish practices with traditional ways, while still exemplifying everything Danish. The weekend’s numerous offerings, encompassing activities for all ages, range from fan-favorite food events surrounding Aebleskiver, the iconic Danish pastry rounds; to a Danish-style beer and wine garden serving Danish import, Carlsberg beer, alongside local brews and wines; to a historical reenactment in the form of a Viking Encampment; to interactive history lessons at the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art; to chainsaw wood-carving demonstrations, an Old World artisanal crafts marketplace and a contemporary Solvang merchant walk.
Overall admission to Solvang Danish Days is free, and entertainment options abound during the weekend with three parades, Danish folk dancers and musicians performing in spots scattered about the town, plus an afternoon and evening of free, live concerts on the Midgaard Pavilion Stage in the middle of downtown Solvang, adjacent to the Viking Beer & Wine Garden.
New to Solvang Danish Days this year, is a town-wide restaurant promotion; participating Solvang eateries and bars will be “cooking up” something special just for Danish Days weekend (further details TBA).
Solvang Danish Days also aims to please the next generation of Danish Days fans with multiple pass-times, including story-telling sessions with Randel McGee as Hans Christian Andersen, and a “Kid’s Korner” in Solvang Park featuring LEGO®.
Since the 1960s, Solvang Danish Days has been presided over by each year’s Danish Maid – a tradition that remains an honorable accomplishment for each of the young, local women appointed by the Danish Days Foundation board members, to become a specific year’s Danish Maid. The 2017 Danish Maid is 18-year-old Gabrielle Heron, a fifth-generation Santa Ynez Valley resident whose Solvang roots stretch back to the town’s founding years. Solvang’s Danish Maids serve as a sort of goodwill ambassador during their year of service, making public appearances to promote Solvang and the City’s spirit of hospitality.
Danish Days has a long-standing family history for Gabrielle: In 1961, her grandmother, Ann Nielsen, was the first to hold court as “hostess” for Danish Days, a precursor to the Danish Maid role. Gabrielle’s older sister, Angelique Heron, was named 2014 Danish Maid, and Gabrielle’s cousin, Natalya Nielsen, served as the 2016 Danish Maid. Gabrielle’s great uncle, Don Nielsen, was chairman of the Danish Days board in 1953 and her grandfather, Roger, was chairman in 1971. Also in 1971, Gabrielle’s great-grandparents, Axel and Margaret Nielsen, were the Danish Days Parade Grand Marshals, and in 2010, her grandparents, Roger and Ann Nielsen, were the Grand Marshals. Gabrielle’s uncle, Rodney Nielsen, has volunteered for Danish Days for the last thirty-plus years. He has served on the Danish Days Foundation Board for the last twelve years and served as co-chair of the Board in 2013.
One of Danish Days’ continuing traditions is the weekend’s pair of Aebleskiver Breakfasts, served right in the middle of town – a tradition that began with Axel Nielsen, who was in charge of the breakfasts for many years until Gabrielle’s grandfather, Roger Nielsen, took the helm. Gabrielle’s uncle, Rodney Nielsen, is currently the breakfast chairman.
“It’s an honor to serve as the 2017 Danish Maid – especially since this past year, the world embraced and practiced the Danish custom of ‘hygge’, which celebrates simplicity and cherishes little moments in family, comfort, and food. I am excited to represent our Danish town as a Danish lifestyle custom receives worldwide recognition, and Solvang once again takes time to remember and celebrate the Danish heritage and traditions on which it was founded,” said Gabrielle Heron, Solvang’s 2017 Danish Maid.
The preliminary 2017 Danish Days event weekend schedule is available at www.SolvangDanishDays.org; event weekend highlights are as follows:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
4:00 PM: Free Concert at the Solvang Park Gazebo, Mission Drive and First Street (bands/musicians TBA).
4:00 PM: Chainsaw Carver, George Kenny, will begin carving his wooden creations on Friday afternoon; spectators will be able to view the progress of his work throughout the weekend.
5:00 PM – 10:00 PM: Viking Beer & Wine Garden – Outdoor beer and wine garden; supports the Solvang Danish Days Foundation. Viking Beer & Wine Garden continues on Saturday. (Guests must be 21 years of age or older to enter the Viking Beer & Wine Garden and to purchase alcoholic beverages.)
7:30 PM: Torchlight Parade – Free for participants, all ages welcome, candles will be provided. Route begins at Alisal Road and Laurel Avenue, strolling south down Alisal and ending at the Midgaard Pavilion Stage (in Parking Lot 2, downtown Solvang, adjacent to the Danish Days Viking Beer & Wine Garden).
8:00 PM: Opening Ceremonies in Solvang Park introducing 2017 Danish Maid, Gabrielle Heron. Velkommen Street Dance follows with Danish dancers performing to live music, and a short story narrated by Randel McGee as Hans Christian Andersen.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2017
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Aebleskiver Breakfast on Copenhagen Drive and First Street, just $7.00 per person (with Danish sausage, $8.00). Tickets available on-line in advance, or at the event entrance. Aebleskiver Breakfast also featured on Sunday, same times.
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Kid’s Korner featuring LEGO® and a supervised Play & Rest Area, in Solvang Park. Kid’s Korner also featured on Sunday, same times.
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Viking Encampment – Visit the Ravens of Odin, Norse Educational Group, as they bring Viking times to life through historical reenactments. Features a Viking Age Weaponry demo on Saturday. Viking Encampment also featured on Sunday, same times.
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Living History Festival at Elverhoj Museum of History & Art (1624 Elverhoy Way; www.elverhoj.org). Free, interactive activities for all ages, plus artisans, craftspeople and storytellers. Living History Festival also featured on Sunday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.
11:00 AM – 10:30 PM: Viking Beer & Wine Garden – Outdoor beer and wine garden; supports the Solvang Danish Days Foundation. (Guests must be 21 years of age or older to enter the Viking Beer & Wine Garden and to purchase alcoholic beverages.)
11:30 AM: Free Aebleskiver Eating Contest – Corner of Copenhagen Drive and First Street. All ages welcome for this five-minute competition. Contest also featured on Sunday, same time.
2:30 PM: Danish Days Parade – Includes the Solvang Village Band atop the Carlsberg Beer Wagon, floats, equestrians, Village Dancers and more. Line-up starts at 1:30 PM on First Street, between Molle Way and Oak Street; parade begins by turning east on Copenhagen Drive, then north on Alisal Road, west on Mission Drive, south on Fourth Place, east on Copenhagen, south on Second Street, finishes at corner of Oak Street near Solvang City Hall. NO CHARGE to participate in the parade; applications are available at www.SolvangDanishDays.org.
5:00 PM – 10:00 PM: Free Concerts featuring live music on the Midgaard Pavilion Stage in Parking Lot 2, in downtown Solvang, adjacent to the Viking Beer & Wine Garden. All ages welcome; varied music genres (must be 21 years or older to enter Viking Beer & Wine Garden). Concerts are free and open to the public. Bands and set times, TBA.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Aebleskiver Breakfast on Copenhagen Drive and First Street, just $7.00 per person (with Danish sausage, $8.00). Advance tickets available for sale, at solvang-danish-days-2017.eventbrite.com.
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Kid’s Korner featuring LEGO® and a supervised Play & Rest Area, in Solvang Park.
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Viking Encampment – Visit the Ravens of Odin, Norse Educational Group, as they bring Viking times to life through historical reenactments.
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Living History Festival at Elverhoj Museum of History & Art (1624 Elverhoy Way; www.elverhoj.org). Free, interactive activities for all ages, plus artisans, craftspeople and storytellers.
11:30 AM: Free Aebleskiver Eating Contest – Corner of Copenhagen Drive and First Street. All ages welcome for this five-minute competition.
2:00 PM: Children’s Parade – Begins at Atterdag Square (corner of Atterdag Road and Copenhagen Drive) and meanders down Copenhagen to Solvang Park. All children and families are welcome to join this event; no charge to participate, and costumes are encouraged.
2:45 PM: Danish Days Closing Ceremony in Solvang Park. Danish Days Maid Gabrielle Heron closes the festive weekend; free concert to follow (band TBA).
More information about Solvang Danish Days, including a full history of the event, updated 2017 schedule and details, parade applications and complete contact information, is available at www.SolvangDanishDays.org. Solvang Danish Days is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at facebook.com/SolvangDanishDays, twitter.com/DanishDays and instagram.com/DanishDays.
Questions, media requests for interviews and photos, may be directed to Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing, at 1.877.327.2656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Solvang Danish Days Foundation
In early 1995, the Solvang City Council approached Santa Ynez Valley residents from long-established, local Danish families and other interested groups, about possibly setting up a non-profit foundation – Solvang Danish Days Foundation – to formally plan and organize the increasingly popular, annual Danish Days festivities. The original Solvang Danish Days Foundation board members were Ken Andersen, Brenda Anderson, Hans Birkholm, Max Hanberg, Howard Petersen, David Rasmussen and Henry Skytt. The Foundation members meet throughout the year to ready each year’s celebration. Donations and volunteers for the event, are always welcome; please contact the Foundation for more information.