Danish Days: Solvang’s History-Filled Celebration

No clogs? No worries -- the colorful weekender welcomes anyone looking for pastry and history.

Tenley Fohl Photography

DANISH DELIGHTS: You don't need a pixie cap or bonnet or full-skirted frock or a pair of hand-sewn clogs to attend what's known as "the largest Danish festival in California," but you should prepare to see many of the historic sartorial touches the party is known for. It's in Solvang every September -- the "Solvang" part of the reveal is probably no shocker -- and people both gussy up in full-on traditional dress and go casual, too. It's all good, as befits the bash, which is very come-one-come-all (so, nope, you don't need any Danish heritage in the family tree). Shall there be dancing? A lot of dancing, yes. Shall there be an Old World Marketplace? It would not be Danish Days without it (perhaps you can even pick up those longed-for clogs you've been wanting, because once you spy them on the feet of other revelers, you'll be a mite jealous). Shall there be multiple parades and a Viking encampment and chainsaw carving and a living history festival and a wine & beer garden? All of those things will be present and accounted for in the tucked-into-wine-country burg. And shall aebleskivers have their day? It wouldn't be Danish Days *or* Solvang without the most famous edible in town taking a starring role, which shall do, over two days, at a pair of aebleskiver-eating contests.

DATES & DETAILS: Send summer off, and say "velkommen" to autumn, during the Friday, Sept. 18 through Sunday, Sept. 20 party. If you can't miss something in particular -- say, the chainsaw carving, because, come on, chainsaw carving -- you'll want to read the schedule before heading for the Santa Ynez Valley, as some happenings have a particular day and time slot. If you want to focus on wine tasting, which is typically the focus of Solvang's busy weekend scene, you can just do the town's tasting rooms, and dip into a Danish Days event when you feel like it. Isn't Solvang something else? It has quite a few things going for it, from wine to windmills to its annual parties, such as Danish Days. If only it could teach a seminar, to other towns seeking to wear multiple "known for" caps, on how to do it so well. For many places are only known for one special event/feature, Solvang rocks it in a few different ways. Commendable stuff for a small village that can be strolled across, easily, over one easy afternoon.

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