November and December bring plenty of fun-filled annual events to the Santa Ynez Valley. Here are just a few.
Sunday, Nov. 26
- Gingerbread House Party – 9 a.m. – noon and 1 – 4 p.m.
Come to the Creation Station in Buellton to make your one-of-a-kind family gingerbread house. This year they are holding two sessions on the same day, and spaces are filling quickly. The Solvang Bakery is providing the kits with all the makings for an amazing Holiday keepsake. Each kit is $75, which includes a blank house, the icing and all the candy you need to make your special home. Call (805) 693-0174 or come to the shop to register. Pre-registration is required.
Thursday, Dec. 1
- Santa Ynez Christmas Tree Lighting, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
The Santa Ynez Valley’s holiday cheer begins at 5:30 p.m. with the lighting of the largest Christmas tree in the valley. The evening begins with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in downtown Santa Ynez, and the atmosphere is filled with live entertainment and the smells of cookies and cider. The evening is capped with the lighting of a 75-foot redwood tree, offering an impressive start to the Santa Ynez Valley’s holiday season.
- Solvang Julefest, Dec. 1 through December
All that gives Solvang its character — its small-town charms and Danish-American traditions — is made better and brighter during Julefest (pronounced yule-fest). The holiday season springs to life with the annual tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 1. The Solvang Julefest Parade and after-parade children’s performance at 11 a.m. on Dec. 2 and Community Nativity Pageant on Dec. 9 hearken back to holiday seasons gone by.
Visits from Santa Claus to Santa Village in Solvang Park will happen on Dec. 1, 2, 9, and 16. The Candelight Tours start at 5 p.m. on Dec. 9, 16, 23, and 30 offer memories that will last forever.
The Julefest Wine and Beer Walk Dec. 9 – 10 is a festive event unique to Solvang, and every Christmas list can be fulfilled during the Shop, Mingle & Jingle event Dec. 1-3, 8-10 and 15 -17. Don’t forget Third Wednesday and Farmer’s Market on Dec. 20.
Saturday, Dec. 2
- Los Olivos Olde Fashioned Christmas, 1 – 8 p.m.
Los Olivos drips with holiday warmth and spirit all season long, and it starts with one festive day that all in the family will enjoy. Start the day at St. Mark’s In-The-Valley Episcopal Church and its Gingerbread Wonderland, with gingerbread houses decorated by local artists and school children. Find unique gifts at the Artisan Boutique in the Grange Hall.
Kids will love a ride on Summerset Farm’s train at Lavinia Campbell Park, and a visit from Santa Claus downtown and at St. Mark’s. The town comes alive with the official lighting of the Los Olivos Christmas Tree.
Sunday, Dec. 3
- Buellton Winter Fest, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
The mild climate of the Santa Ynez Valley may never bring snow, but with a holiday village that piles up some 20 tons of snow for all to enjoy, the dream of a white Christmas is indeed possible at the Buellton Winter Fest.
The event begins with breakfast with Santa and ends with a spectacular light parade and the traditional Buellton Christmas tree lighting. In between, enjoy food trucks, vendors, holiday libations, and all the snow in the Holiday Village. Log onto www.visitbuellton.com for more information.
Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 17-18
- SYV Master Chorale concerts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16; 3 p.m. Dec. 17
Join the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale, Youth Ensemble and Orchestra for their annual holiday concert series titled “Festival of Carols” at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 1745 Mission Drive in Solvang.
The chorale will present its concert under the direction of Michael Eglin, featuring works by Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” and many others. In the spirit of the holidays, the audience will also be invited to join a sing-a-long of favorite carols.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors (65 years and older) and youth (under 18). Tickets may be purchased at the Book Loft, El Rancho Marketplace, from chorale members, at the door, online at www.syvchorale.org or by calling 350-4241.