— 2015 Solvang Danish Days Highlights include Memorable Parade Entrants; Free Concert by US Air Force Band of the Golden West, “Galaxy”; More New-to-Danish Days Enjoyment Options —
Solvang Danish Days, California’s premier Danish heritage festival, successfully completed its 79th celebration Friday through Sunday, September 18 through 20, 2015. Thousands of attendees – from both the Santa Ynez Valley, and points around the world – joined in the celebratory festivities despite triple-digit temps, consuming their annually-anticipated share of Aebleskiver and Medisterpølse; spectating during one, or all three, Danish Days Parades; raising a glass and/or a Viking Burger in the Viking Beer & Wine Garden; partaking in photo ops with the 2015 Danish Maid, Mia Andersen; learning Viking ways from the Ravens of Odin, Norse Educational Group, during their two-day Viking Encampment in Solvang Park; and catching some, or all, of the multiple, free entertainment opportunities which abounded during the event weekend, from Danish musicians and folk dancers, to local youth dance troupes and bands, to the special performance by US Air Force Band of the Golden West, “Galaxy”.
The 2015 edition of the annual festival, which honors the 1911 establishment of Solvang by Danish-Americans and continues Solvang’s Danish heritage with authentic food, music, dancing, parades, live entertainment and family activities, carried the theme of “Skål, Til Vores Forældres Børn”, or “Cheers, to our parents’ children”. An exemplary entry in the Saturday Danish Days Parade, one of nearly 30 total Parade entries, helped to further this theme: The Andersen Family float and its “Capture the Moment” design featured a larger-than-life Polaroid camera surrounded by an energetic group of about 30 family members and friends, all presided over by Solvang’s own Andrew and Thora Mae Andersen, grandparents of 2015 Danish Maid, Mia Andersen, daughter of Ken and Allie Andersen.
The 2015 Danish Days Parade was headed up by this year’s Grand Marshals, Bent and Susy Olsen, long-time Solvang residents and business owners, including Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery. In addition to the Olsen’s “Grand Marshal” duties, Bent Olsen crafted a significant dessert for the Saturday evening Danish Days Dinner Dance: a raspberry chocolate rum cake meant to feed almost 200 guests.
Solvang Danish Days 2015 featured four entertaining events on Saturday evening: the afore-mentioned Danish Days Dinner Dance; the free Solvang 2nd Century Street Party with Echoswitch, a local 80s hard rock band comprised of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Deputy, Charlie Uhrig, and his two sons; a special “MADS MEN” fundraising concert at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater, with two-time Grammy Award-winning Danish violinist, Mads Tolling, who blended “old” and “new” as he performed instrumental hits from the 1960s “MAD MEN” era; and, a special, free appearance by US Air Force Band of the Golden West, “Galaxy”, who entertained crowds with a wide variety of musical styles, from rock to pop, to country hits from the past to today’s Top 40.
Another popular entertainment option during this year’s Danish Days, were the three performances by “Manne”, a Danish music duo who exclusively play old Danish hits – some dating as far back as the 1920s. Each of Manne’s songs were presented with a story, alongside their simple and clean piano and saxophone arrangements.
Local beer producers, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., were also on-hand at this year’s Solvang Danish Days, pouring their Asgard Ale, an unfiltered Belgian strong ale aged in Aquavit barrels imported from Scandinavia. The new Ale, released Danish Days weekend, pays tribute to the Danish settlers of Solvang and to Figueroa Mountain co-founder, Jaime Dietenhofer’s, wife Meighan’s Danish heritage. Figueroa Mountain’s brew crew also “paraded” through town in Saturday’s Danish Days Parade, with an impressive float sporting a live rock band, followed by a fully-branded Figueroa Mountain bus.
Also new to the 2015 version of Solvang Danish Days, was Buellton-based craft distillery, Ascendant Spirits, whose master distiller, Steve Gertman, poured tasters of their yet-to-be-named Akvavit. Ascendant held a naming contest during Danish Days, giving guests a chance at bestowing a title upon the company’s newest spirit.
The charitable Solvang Danish Days Foundation, producers of each year’s Danish Days, have announced the dates for the 80th Annual Solvang Danish Days as September 16-18, 2016. See you next year!