Staff Report

The Vikings of Solvang have pledged a five-year donation of $50,000 to Solvang Theaterfest. The contribution is designated for Theaterfest’s campaign, IMAGINE! Building the Future – The $4.7 Million Capital Campaign for Solvang Festival Theater. 

The $50,000 is earmarked for the rebuilding of the theater’s wheelchair ramp during major reconstruction of the venue, anticipated to start in 2021.

Solvang Theaterfest is the 501(C)(3) nonprofit corporation that owns, maintains, and operates Solvang Festival Theater. The 46-year-old outdoor theater presents plays and musicals from PCPA in the summer, plus Theaterfest-produced concerts and events from April through December. Several times a year, it is utilized by regional nonprofit organizations, such as Friendship House, to stage their own benefit events.

Vikings of Solvang, established in 1974, is a philanthropic and social men’s organization, highly regarded in the community for its volunteerism, annual Christmas party for hundreds of developmentally disabled students, blood drives, and more.

The decision to make the grant to Solvang Theaterfest was explained by outgoing Chief Dave Bemis: “The Vikings’ mission is to help qualified individuals and organizations with their medically related needs, and we are proud to help improve access at the theater for disabled people as part of the theater’s reconstruction.”

The $50,000 commitment was celebrated in a ceremony at Solvang Festival Theater on Jan. 13. In attendance were several Vikings who also serve on the Solvang Theaterfest Board: Chris Nielsen, Bill Bernstein, David Wyatt, and Jean-Paul Demeure. Other Viking members there were Bemis, incoming Chief Richard Kline, Bob Raleigh and Norm Anderson. Anderson utilizes a walker, making the new ramp particularly meaningful for him. 

Additional Solvang Theaterfest Board members on hand were Ann Foxworthy Lewellen, Kathryn Wrench, Lois Brown, Denise de Bellefeuille and Dr. Bob Baehner. They were joined by Solvang Theaterfest Executive Director Mary Ann Norbom.

For more information about Solvang Theaterfest and Solvang Festival Theater, call Executive Director Mary Ann Norbom at 805-686-1789.