Solvang, named by MSN.com as one of the “50 Best Christmas Towns in All 50 States” and “America’s 50 Most Charming Small Towns for the Holidays” as well as Time Magazine’s “Most Christmassy Towns in America” will sparkle again during the 2018 annual Solvang Julefest (pronounced Yule-Fest) from December 1, 2018 through January 4, 2019.
This year features the return of the popular Free Nisse Adventure Hunt, the Free Candlelight Tours and the addition of new VIP Candlelight Tours. More 2018 Solvang Julefest highlights include the Free Visits with Santa “Julemanden” in Solvang Park; free Nisse Adventure; Shop, Mingle & Jingle Weekends; Holiday Wine & Beer Walk “Skål Stroll!”; Community Tree-lighting Ceremony, Julefest Parade and free Nativity Pageant. Especially with free parking throughout the village, the incredible variety of more than 150 one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty shops makes Solvang a perfect destination to shop for gifts and create holiday memories.
Santa, also known as Julemanden (The Christmas Man in Danish), will be in Solvang for free visits and photos ops for the whole family in Solvang Park at the corner of Mission Drive & First Street. First come, first seated with the jolly old elf. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the moments during these days/times:
– Saturday, December 1, 2018, from Noon-4 p.m.
– Friday, December 7, 2018, from 4-6 p.m.
– Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 12:30-4 p.m.
– Saturday, December 15, 2018, from Noon-4 p.m.
– Saturday, December 22, 2018, from Noon-4 p.m.
Plus, there will be additional open houses at local retailers, special concerts and more taking place throughout the season—with activities continually being updated at www.SolvangUSA.com/julefest
2018 Solvang Julefest Schedule of Events:
December 1-31, 2018
Kids of all ages are invited to explore Solvang while trying to find 12 Danish Christmas Elves known as Jule Nisse (pronounced Yule Nee-suh) each about 16 inches tall, for this festive scavenger hunt. Stop by the Solvang Visitors Center at 1639 Copenhagen Dr. between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, pick up a free “Nisse Adventure” map that provides clues. Take a picture of all 12 Jule Nisse on a smart phone or camera; then return to the Visitors Center to prove you’ve discovered their hiding places and receive a prize. There is no set schedule to find all the hidden Solvang Jule Nisse, just complete your adventure by December 31, 2018.
Saturdays: December 1, 8, 15, 22, 2018
**NEW** VIP Solvang Candlelight Walking Tours
Start at 4:30 p.m. departing from the Solvang Park Gazebo, Mission Drive at First Street for 90 minutes. Stroll and carol with a battery powered LED candle with a costumed tour guide around downtown sharing insider heritage and history; concluding with a private meet & greet with Santa Claus, hot cocoa and cookies at the Hotel Corque. Tickets are $25 per person (under age 2 free) with 25 guests per tour maximum.
Saturdays: December 1, 8, 15, 22, 2018
Free Solvang Candlelight Walking Tours
Start at 5:30 p.m. departing from the Solvang Park Gazebo, Mission Drive at First Street for 60 minutes. A costumed tour guide will provide guests with a complimentary souvenir battery powered LED candle; share history and fun facts about the Solvang while strolling and caroling along village sidewalks.
Friday, December 7, 2018
Community Tree Lighting Ceremony in Solvang Park (Mission Drive & First Street)
Begin with a free visit with Santa Clause from 4:00-6:00 p.m. then starting at 5:00 p.m., enjoy free live entertainment with area bands, choirs and caroling culminating in ballerinas from Fossemale Dance Studio performing around the 20-foot tall drought-tolerant LED tree.
Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9, 2018
Shop, Mingle & Jingle – Sponsored by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce
Discover exclusive happenings at Solvang merchants, live music, discounts and deals.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
With 400+ participants including dancers, musical groups, vintage vehicles, horses, carriages and animals. The parade originates at Solvang Veterans Hall (1745 Mission Drive) travels west on Mission Drive, turns left on Fourth Place, turns (east) on Copenhagen Drive, and ends on Alisal Road near the village Post Office.
Friday, December 14 through Sunday, December 16, 2018
Shop, Mingle & Jingle
Sponsored by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, discover exclusive happenings at Solvang merchants, live music, discounts and deals.
Saturday, December 15 and Sunday, December 16, 2018
11 a.m. -4 p.m.
Solvang Julefest Wine & Beer Walk “Skål Stroll!”
Passport features more than a dozen wine and beer tasting rooms throughout the village offering samplings. Plus, judge tasting rooms as they uncork traditional Gløgg (mulled red wine) for the holidays. Tickets are $45 per person (21 years or older please) for the 2-day passport including a souvenir wine glass. Purchase online at www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/solvang-julefest/#wine-beer-walk
Saturday, December 15, 2018
5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Solvang Nativity Pageant
The Solvang Nativity Pageant also known as the “Christmas Story” comes to life in at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater (420 Second Street). Enjoy performances by a choir, actors in traditional costumes, and live animals on stage. There are two FREE performances with seating on a first come, first entertained basis. (In the unlikely event of rain, performances will be held at an alternate location to be announced).
Monday, December 17, 2018
6-7:15 p.m. and 7:30-8:45 p.m. Holiday Lights & Sights Trolley Tour
Holiday Lights & Sights Trolley Tour features the best of seasonal décor throughout Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley. Festive music and hot chocolate will be provided on board by Solvang Parks & Recreation Department elves. Only two trips offered each night, departing from Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, 1760 Mission Drive. Tickets are $13 per person in advance (sell out expected). To reserve, call 805/688-7529.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Solvang 3rd Wednesday Holiday Edition
Solvang 3rd Wednesday Holiday Edition, throughout the village featuring deals at local merchants, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors; the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market from 2-6 p.m.; discounts at local hotels; and the 3rd Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk and $25 three-course menus at great restaurants.
Friday, January 4, 2019
5 -7 p.m. Fire Safety Demonstration & Christmas Tree Burn
Annual Fire Safety Demonstration & Christmas Tree Burn in the fields of Old Mission Santa Inés (1760 Mission Drive); is supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department as one of the largest fire safety demos and community gatherings on California’s Central Coast and coordinated by the Solvang Parks & Recreation Department. Live entertainment and refreshments for purchase will be available. Area residents are invited to bring their tree (stands & ornaments must be removed) to the burn pile between January 2-4, 2019 and then join together to see this powerful spectacle ignite the New Year and herald the end of Solvang’s Julefest. For more information on this one-of-its-kind event, call 805/688-7529.
Solvang Julefest events are presented by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) on behalf of the City of Solvang with sponsorship support from Visit Santa Ynez Valley and other area businesses. All Solvang Julefest events are open to the public with free admission (excluding Julefest Holiday Wine & Beer Walk and VIP Candlelight Tour). For more detailed information about all events, please visit www.SolvangUSA.com or call the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau at 800/468-6765 or 805/688-6144.