Staff Report

Solvang, named by USA Today as one of the 10 best historic small towns in America, is ready to celebrate Independence Day with special events and family activities. Here is the schedule of public events:

Tuesday, July 4

10 a.m. — Free concert by Santa Ynez Valley Wind Ensemble at Solvang Park.

11 a.m. – Independence Day Parade presented by Solvang Breakfast Rotary Club that rolls, canters, steps and strolls starting at Old Mission Santa Ines (1760 Mission Drive) and heads west along Mission Drive (Route 246); turns south on Fourth Place, then east along Copenhagen Drive and back to Old Mission Santa Ines.

This year’s parade theme is “American Heroes.”  The grand marshal is a Solvang hero, Jim Kunkle Sr., a highly decorated World War II pilot who is a life member of the Legion of Honor and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy near Aachen, Germany, on Sept. 16, 1944.

Kunkle also received the Air Medal of Honor as well as a Purple Heart in his distinguished military career.

Noon – 2 p.m. – Barbecue featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, linguiça and all the fixings for $5-7 with chips and soda or water; and a free concert by the T-Bone Ramblers at Solvang Park.

2 p.m. – The Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale will present a free concert of Americana, traditional and patriotic music in the sanctuary at Mission Santa Ines.

2 – 9 p.m. – 23rd annual Solvang Independence Day Festival throughout the afternoon and evening, sponsored by Rotary Club of the Santa Ynez Valley. Gates open at Mission Santa Inés at 2 p.m. The festival will feature food booths; wine and beer garden; kids’ activities including bounce castle and face-painting; and plenty of time to kick back and relax.

Live entertainment will begin at 5 p.m. with local performers Breaking Silence, Bear Redell and The Molly Ringwald Project. Admission is $10 per adult, free for children ages 7 and under, and free for active-duty military and their dependents. All proceeds benefit local charities.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at Solvang Friendship House (880 Friendship Lane) or Hometown Insurance (186 W Hwy 246, Buellton), as well as at the gate.

9 – 9:30 p.m. – Solvang Independence Day Fireworks Show sponsored by Rotary Club of the Santa Ynez Valley at Mission Santa Inés.

There is free parking in public lots and businesses throughout Solvang. The Solvang Visitors Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. at 1630 Copenhagen Drive, offering free maps, visitor guides, savings coupons and information.

The center is operated by staff of the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau, a nonprofit organization formed in 1986 to promote Solvang’s culture, cuisine, arts and attractions.