Danish Days: Pastries and Parades

Enjoy aebleskivers, dancing, and the charms of California's windmill-wonderful town.

Jeremy Ball/Arne's Famous Aebleskiver

A DANISH DELIGHT: Summertime, and specifically July, can put the notion of eating contests in one's noggin. After all, hot dogs are the culinary star come Independence Day, when eaters vie for honors on Coney Island. But watermelons, and strawberries, and other warm-weather staples are also part of the eating contest scene, whether that scene is at a national festival or staged in a backyard, with a few pies (no hands allowed, of course, for that particular contest). Solvang likes to get into the grub-devouring scene, too, each year, and with no less than the town's best-known sweet: the aebleskiver. If you know this Danish delight, you know that few things on the planet are softer, or doughier, or more pliant to the teeth or touch. Eating a few, or several, over five minutes, is something that doesn't seem too daunting, and competitors will once again line up to take on the iconic dessert. The Aebleskiver Eating Contest, which is free to join, isn't the only doing at the wine country town's big late summer festival. There is plenty on the...

DANISH DAYS... calendar, such as a crafts-packed Living History Festival, a Viking Encampment, a Torchlight Parade, and a couple of Aebleskiver Breakfasts (which are separate from the eating contests). It all falls over the middle weekend in September — that's the 16th through the 18th — and it brims with culture and food, both (oh yes, and Hans Christian Anderson makes a cameo, too). So if July-style hot dog eating contests aren't quite your thing, nor is taking on a whole fruit pie, but you wouldn't mind a few aebleskivers, Solvang in September should be on your schedule. Truly, you likely won't have a dough-deep experience this year, or any other.

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