Staff Report

Julefest officially came to a close on Jan. 3 when a Friday night crowd got warm and toasty standing near the pile of Christmas trees that were set ablaze by members of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. 

The event is coordinated by the Solvang Parks and Recreation Department and supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. It is billed as one of the largest fire safety demonstrations and community holiday gatherings on the Central Coast.

It is also an annual tradition for many valley locals who return every year with their families to enjoy the evening, which includes refreshments and free entertainment. 

The past year has been busy for the various county and city fire departments as they worked during disasters that included the Cave Fire in Santa Barbara just before the holidays. 

The tree burn marked the official conclusion of Julefest, which is the more than a month-long celebration of the holiday season in Solvang. The many events included visits with Santa Claus, a petting zoo, Julefest Parade (visit our YouTube page for a fun video), night market stroll and weekend light shows, and the first Christmas drone show, “Aurora Dronealis,” on Dec. 21. 

Local businesses also participated in the third annual “Gløgg contest” during the Julefest Wine & Beer Walk Skål Stroll, with Wandering Dog and Wine Bar winning the contest.

Popular in Denmark around the Christmas holidays, Gløgg is loosely defined as mulled, spiced wine. It usually contains red wine, orange rind, cinnamon, raisins, blanched almonds, cardamom, cloves and honey as well as aquavit, rum or brandy in varying combinations.

This year’s events were put on by IDK Events of San Francisco.