Dances, Beer, Pastries: Solvang's Danish Days

It's that joyful, treat-packed weekend, windmill mavens, so don your clogs.

A SOLVANG FAN... can be forgiven for thinking that every weekend is Danish Days 'round about the Santa Ynez Valley's windmilliest town. That's because the founded-by-Danish-settlers burg doesn't just truck out the color and the music and the pastries and the clogs for a few days each year; they live the lively, culture-celebratory dream every week of every month. But "California's #1 Danish Festival!" only comes but once a year, at the very end of summer, and it adds some bells and whistles to the already bell-and-whistle-packed destination. What could be described as bell-like and whistle-ish at Danish Days? Ohhhh, how about the famous...

VIKING BEER & WINE GARDEN: It's like a beer & wine garden you might find at another town-wide fair, but, well, vikings. Yep, people just might be rocking some helmets with horns, and even if they are not, you're bound to see some vikings in the parade or at the Living History Festival at the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art. The Torchlight Parade, on Friday, Sept. 19, is candle-y and nicely atmospheric, the Opening Ceremonies include traditional Danish dancing, and the Saturday, Sept. 20 parade includes floats, bands, beer wagons, and more photo-ready costume-y flair. As for the consuming of aebleskivers -- many, many aebleskivers? There are eating contests, as you might expect. And why not? It is, after all, the doughy and delicious symbol of the wine country town. (That is, really after wine itself, or perhaps the aebleskiver and the wine bottle are on even ground in this race.)

DANISH DAYS, HELLO: Solvang is a town that likes a party, and you can count on Julefest, the holiday celebrations, kicking up before we even believe Danish Days is packed away. But if a short trip to Europe, or somewhere like Europe but in California, is something tempting, don our clogs and go 'vang. (Or, you know, you can buy them there, too, just so you can brag about your Solvang clogs to everyone forever, which we would.)

DATES: The party is on from Friday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Sept. 21.

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