Danish Solvang Days returns with a three-day weekend lineup of events Friday through Sunday, September 15-17. The theme of Solvang Danish Days 2023, Kom Sammen (Come Together), will be celebrated at this year’s event, which honors the founding of Solvang in 1911 by Danish-Americans.
Danish Days 2023 will once again offer participants a Danish immersion experience while helping to preserve Solvang’s authentic Danish heritage.
Danish Days guests wishing to “live like Vikings” throughout the event weekend have the opportunity to purchase a Dane For A Day VIP ticket pack (available online only).
For faster access to the Saturday and/or Sunday Æbleskiver breakfasts, visitors can purchase tickets online for the breakfast in advance. Advance online tickets for the Æbleskiver Breakfasts and Dane For A Day packages are currently on sale.
Since the humble beginnings of Solvang Danish Days in 1936, when the festival began to commemorate the village’s 25th anniversary, the event aims to celebrate Solvang’s Danish heritage with authentic cuisine, music, dance , parades, shows and family activities.
In 1946, a reporter from the Saturday Evening Post visited Solvang during the Danish Days and the resulting article, published in January 1947, put Solvang on the tourism map. The article said, in part:
“Solvang…an impeccable Danish village blooming like a rose in California’s charming Santa Ynez Valley. The charm and customs of the old country have been successfully merged with the American way of life. Nowadays… this quaint village lives up to its affectionate name, “Little Denmark”.
Solvang Danish Days has since grown to over 85 annual celebrations, continuing to combine “the charm and customs of the old country” with a more modern way of life through its varied activities, which blend current Danish-American practices with traditional notions .
Weekend offerings include activities for all ages: foodie events around Æbleskiver, the iconic Danish Pastry Crawls; in a Danish-style beer and wine garden serving Carlsberg beer imported from Denmark, as well as local beers, wines and festival food.
An ax throwing arena is also at your disposal; interactive history lessons at the Elverhøj History and Art Museum; storytime sessions with Hans Christian Andersen; a Viking encampment in Solvang Park; a guided food and photo tour of Solvang; and an Old World artisan craft market.
Solvang Danish Days offers free entertainment with three parades, Danish folk dancers and musicians performing throughout the city; as well as afternoons and evenings of free live concerts on the Midgaard Pavilion stage in downtown Solvang, next to the Viking Beer & Wine Garden.
Danish Days also offers family pastimes, including the LEGO activity tent in Solvang Park.
This year, the LEGO Solvang Danish Days building competition takes place over two days. Visitors can watch three of California’s largest brick builders compete with their own scaled-down versions of the Solvang Danish Days Parade floats. The builders will be distributed throughout the village of Solvang; the competition takes place on Saturday and Sunday.
Also returning to Solvang Danish Days will be competitive eater Raina Huang (@rainaiscrazy; youtube.com/@RainaHuang), who will appear on stage during Sunday’s Aebleskiver Eating Contest to attempt to beat her own Danish Days personal best set in 2018, of 36 aebleskiver consumed in just five minutes – all hands-free.
Since the 1960s, Solvang Danish Days has been chaired annually by the Danish Handmaid, a tradition that remains an accomplishment for each of the local young people nominated by Danish Days Foundation board members to become the Danish Handmaid of a specific year.
The 2023 Danish Handmaid is Stephanie Pedersen, 17, a fourth-generation Solvang resident whose Danish roots trace back on her father’s side to Djursland and Egtved, Denmark.
Solvang’s Danish Maids serve as goodwill ambassadors during their year of service, making public appearances to promote Solvang and the town’s spirit of Danish hospitality.
Pedersen’s family’s involvement in Solvang Danish Days dates back more than 60 years, but she experienced her first Danish Days celebration in 2006, when she was just four months old.
Named Danish Handmaid 2023, she follows in the footsteps of her aunts, Lisa Larsen Pedersen, Danish Handmaid 1977, and Janet Pedersen, Danish Handmaid 1974.
His father, Bruce, helped set up and run the Danish Days event from his teenage years. He eventually became a member of the Solvang Village Band, which performs throughout the city during Danish Days, perched atop the Carlsberg Beer Wagon run by draft horses. He then became a member of the Danish Days committee, serving on the board of directors of the Solvang Danish Days Foundation until the 2022 event weekend.
“The connection we feel during Danish Days is not limited by language, age, culture or anything else,” said Stephanie Pedersen. “Everyone in town is part of a whole; a whole that comes together to discover the beauty of our Danish culture.
“The Danish Days are a moment of unity for Solvang and the visitors. After the visitors experienced the Danish Days, I heard them say that they couldn’t wait to visit Solvang again.
“I am grateful and honored to be the Danish Days Maid 2023 and I cannot imagine a better way to share my Danish pride with our community and with visitors from around the world.”
Solvang Danish Days 2023 is sponsored in part by the City of Solvang, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Montecito Bank & Trust, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, WM (Waste Management), CHOMP burgers | fries | shakes, and Mortensen’s Danish Bakery, Toyota of Lompoc, Valley Fresh Market, Nielsen Building Materials and The Copenhagen House.
The preliminary program for the Solvang Danish Days 2023 event weekend is available online at www.SolvangDanishDays.org.
To learn more about Solvang Danish Days, including a brief history of the event, parade applications and full contact details, visit www.SolvangDanishDays.org.