Staff Report

December brings plenty of fun-filled annual events to the Santa Ynez Valley. Here are just a few.

Saturday, Dec. 1

Los Olivos Olde Fashioned Christmas, 11 a.m. – 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 this year’s inaugural Holiday Market, an open-air shopping opportunity showcasing gift-able artisan goods by nearly two dozen artists and vendors.

Then go over to St. Mark’s In-The-Valley Episcopal Church and its Gingerbread Wonderland from 4 to 8 p.m., with gingerbread houses decorated by local artists and school children. More photo memories can be made in the Santa Ynez Valley Grange Hall, where character meet-and-greets will entertain children from 4 to 8 p.m. Kids will love a ride on Summerset Farm & Dale’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.


Santa Ynez Christmas Tree Lighting, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

The Santa Ynez Valley’s holiday cheer begins 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. Fossemalle Dance Studio will perform tap choreographies to get the audience in the holiday spirit along with the traditional ballet dance around the tree. The evening is capped with the lighting of a 75-foot redwood tree, offering an impressive start to Santa Ynez Valley’s holiday season.


Solvang Julefest, Dec. 1 through Jan. 4

All that gives Solvang its character — its small-town charms and Danish-American traditions — is made better and brighter during Julefest (pronounced yule-fest). This year will feature the return of the popular Nisse Adventure Hunt, free Candlelight Tours and the addition of VIP Candelight Tours.  The annual tree-lighting ceremony featuring local performers and Fossemalle dancers Dec. 7; the Solvang Julefest Parade led by the grand marshal, soon-to-be-retired Solvang City Manager Brad Vidro, on Dec. 8; and the Community Nativity Pageant on Dec. 15 will hearken back to holiday seasons gone by.

Visits from Santa Claus to Santa Village in Solvang Park on Dec. 1, 7, 8, 15 and 22 and the Holiday Lights Tour on Dec. 17 offer attendees memories that will last forever.

The Julefest Wine and Beer Walk, the “Skål Stroll!, Dec. 15-16 is a festive event unique to Solvang, and every Christmas list can be fulfilled during the Shop, Mingle & Jingle event Dec. 7-9, 14-16, and on Third Wednesday and Farmer’s Market on Dec. 19.

Weather permitting, the season will conclude with the annual fire safety demonstration and Christmas Tree Burn on Jan. 4.


Sunday, Dec. 2

Buellton Winter Fest, 9 a.m. – 7 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.


Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 8-9

SYV Master Chorale concerts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8; 3 p.m. Dec. 9

Join the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale, Youth Ensemble and Orchestra for their 40th annual Holiday Concert at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 1745 Mission Drive in Solvang.

Started in 1978, the chorale has presented luscious works by Bach, Mozart, Handel, Schubert, Brahms and Beethoven as well as many outstanding contemporary composers.

This year, under Dr. Michael Eglin’s baton, Bach’s exuberant and dramatic Magnificat (written in Leipzig for 1723 Christmas vespers) will be the centerpiece of the concert followed by more contemporary and lyrical compositions and holiday carols.

The Valley Wind Ensemble, Mystique (a local girls’ a cappella group) and the chorale’s youth ensemble will contribute to the celebration with their own selections, and the youth ensemble will close the concert with a carol sing-along.

Tickets are $27 for adults and $22.50 for seniors (65 years and older) and youth (under 18 years). To buy tickets, visit