The Solvang Danish Days Foundation is pleased to announce the 2018 Solvang Danish Days Grand Marshals, Glen and Michele Jacobsen, of Solvang. The Jacobsens will preside over this year’s Danish Days weekend, Friday through Sunday, September 14 through 16, 2018.
Solvang Danish Days celebrates 82 years in 2018, and Glen Jacobsen has been working behind the scenes to make the annual event happen, for more than half of those 82 years. The Foundation bestowed the Grand Marshal title upon the Jacobsens due to their tireless efforts for Danish Days, as well as Jacobsen’s awarded involvement with numerous other community organizations and non-profits.
“Being named Danish Days Grand Marshal is certainly an honor, but the main reward is actually getting to witness everyone in town that weekend, enjoying this huge production that we work so hard to bring to the community,” said Glen Jacobsen, 2018 Danish Days Grand Marshal along with his wife, Michele Jacobsen.
Glen Jacobsen’s Danish roots and ties to Solvang are a true study in patterns of American immigration. Jacobsen’s father, Knud Jacobsen, was born in Denmark on the island of Årø (in “Sønder Jutland”). At the age of 18, Knud enlisted in the Danish Army and shortly thereafter, moved to the United States, where he joined his uncles on their farm, which was located on the “Buell Flat” at the edge of downtown Solvang.
The elder Jacobsen then enlisted in the U.S. Army and was shipped overseas to Germany, but upon his return to Solvang he met Glen Jacobsen’s mother, Elizabeth Simonsen, whose parents – Jens and Marie Simonsen – were also Danish immigrants. Simonsen’s parents had first settled in Iowa, where Elizabeth was born, eventually moving their family to Solvang in the 1940s to be with the other Danes in the growing Danish community.
Glen Jacobsen’s strong bonds to the local economy and community of Solvang are “cemented” in the family construction business, KJ Concrete, which Jacobsen’s father founded and ran for 20 or so years before Glen took the helm. Jacobsen’s three daughters, Lauren (now 29; 2006 Danish Maid), Lexi (27) and Laini (25), have all participated in Danish Days their entire lives. Glen, a Solvang native, originally met his wife, Michele, in high school, after she moved to Solvang with her family in 1972. Glen and Michele later reconnected in 1998.
Jacobsen has been a Member and Board Member of the charitable Vikings of Solvang organization for many years, and also served as a past Chief of the Vikings. He is on the Board of Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, for which Michele also actively volunteers, and is a Trustee for the Danish Brotherhood Solvang Lodge, as well as a past President of Solvang’s Danish Brotherhood. In January of 2016, Jacobsen was awarded the “Linda Johansen Spirit of the Community [Volunteer of the Year] Award”, by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce. The Jacobsens are also members of Solvang’s Bethania Lutheran Church.
Jacobsen has been part of the Solvang Danish Days crew since he was a child, when he started to help with set-up and tear-down of the annual festival’s infrastructure. In 1977, prior to the founding of the Solvang Danish Days Foundation Board, Jacobsen took over the Danish Days role of Breakfast Chairman – a post now held by Rodney Nielsen. Jacobsen has been an active member of the Board for many years, and has continuously assisted in the event’s planning and operation, with Michele by his side in Danish Days activities.
Jacobsen concluded, “Danish Days is a very special time of year. But I’m lucky enough to be able to be a part of this community, helping to shape its future and retain its past, all year long.”
Parading through Solvang with the 2018 Danish Days Grand Marshal, will be the 2018 Danish Maid, Christiana Heron, the Solvang Village Band atop the Carlsberg Beer Wagon, a multitude of floats, equestrians, Village Dancers and more. The Danish Days Parade line-up starts at 1:30 PM on Saturday, September 16, on First Street, between Molle Way and Oak Street; the Parade begins at 2:30 PM, 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, and finishes at the corner of Oak Street near Solvang City Hall.
Participation in the Solvang Danish Days Parade is free, and Parade applications are available at www.solvangdanishdays.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Danish-Days-Parade-app-2018.pdf. The Solvang Danish Days Foundation is also seeking local non-profits to host booths at this year’s Danish Days “Kid’s Korner”; a booth application may be found here, and all forms are due by September 1, 2018.
Congrats, Glen and Michele!
Read more about 2018 Solvang Danish Days Grand Marshals, Glen and Michele Jacobsen, in the Santa Ynez Valley News.
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.