The charitable Solvang Danish Days Foundation is pleased to announce the 2016 Solvang Danish Days Grand Marshals, Mike and Martha Nedegaard, of Solvang. The Nedegaards will preside over this year’s Danish Days weekend, Friday through Sunday, September 16 through 18, 2016.
Solvang Danish Days celebrates 80 years in 2016, and the Nedegaards have been tireless participants in the annual festivities for more than half of those 80 years. The Foundation bestowed the Grand Marshal title upon the Nedegaards due to their long-time support of Danish Days – as well as their support of numerous other community organizations – and the family’s historic involvement with the annual Danish heritage festival.
The Nedegaard family has been intertwined with Solvang Danish Days for four generations. Martha’s Danish “Days” began as a teenager when she worked at Birkholm’s Bakery, which was adjacent to the Danish Days activities of the time, held at Solvang’s Mission Santa Inés. Mike’s Danish Days history dates back to his father, a local plumber who helped build the original stoves used for the event’s Aebleskiver Breakfasts – stoves which didn’t see their final Danish Days weekend until September 2015.
In the 1970s, Mike and Martha took a brief break from volunteering during Danish Days, to see their two daughters, Heidi and Amy, through their early years. The Nedegaards picked up where they left off, as part of the Danish Days crew, in the early 80s. Daughter, Heidi, was crowned Danish Maid in 1993, and in 1994, Martha began her lengthy reign as the weekend’s Parade Chair, a post which she held for 18 years.
The Nedegaard’s involvement in Danish Days is an annual affair, with Mike towing the Viking ship float in each year’s Torchlight Parade, which he has done since the float’s maiden voyage. The couple also readies the troupe of local girls each year, who serve the festival’s famous food to residents at Atterdag Village of Solvang, during the event weekend.
Both Martha and Mike were raised, and remain, in the Santa Ynez Valley, and their volunteer efforts for Danish Days do not stand alone: In 2013, The Santa Ynez Valley Foundation named Martha volunteer of the year, for her contributions to culture in the community. Martha is also part of the Atterdag Village of Solvang Auxiliary, and an Atterdag Village Board Member, while Mike lends a hand to the fundraising Vikings of Solvang BBQ Team.
Parading through Solvang with the 2016 Danish Days Grand Marshals, will be the 2016 Danish Maid, Natalya Nielsen, 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 17, 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/2016/04/DDS-Parade-app-2016.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, 2016.
Congrats, Mike & Martha!
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.