I first heard of the replica Danish town of Solvang, which is located in California on Highway 101 in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in reference to it being a great place to go for Christmas shopping. And though I have visited it many times through the years to enjoy its charming authentic Danish architecture complete with thatched roofs and windmills, it is just within the last few years that I made it there for its annual December Julefest.
|Julefest Christmas tree in courtyard in Solvang, California|
The town’s hundreds of specialty shops offer unusual gift items year-round, but they add more goodies plus seasonal decorations and a festive air around Christmas. An annual Tree-Lighting Ceremony is held in Solvang Park with live entertainment, caroling, and the arrival of Santa Claus, and a Julefest Parade features hundreds of participants marching, trotting, cruising, and strolling along festively decorated streets. Additionally, the family-friendly Solvang Nativity Pageant is an elaborate stage presentation that includes narration, music, and live animals. Visitors during this time also can win a prize while exploring the town in search of the hidden Jule Nisse (mischievous elf-like Danish figures). When I visited, I witnessed Santa leave a bar, mount a motorcycle, and chug down the street singing “Jingle Bells,” although the singing might be a false memory.”
|Christmas decor in Solvang Restaurant in Solvang, California|
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