Staff Report


The Vikings of Solvang provided a Danish dinner for about 30 people at the Buellton Senior Center in March.

It began with a green salad, warm rolls and butter. Then the main dishes arrived, featuring Danish meatballs called frikadeller. Accompanying them on the plate were red cabbage, shoestring onions, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Bent Olsen, owner of Olsen’s Bakery in Solvang, created the meal and brought a giant two-layer sheet cake. One layer was chocolate and one was white cake — something for everyone.

The Vikings, some in their blue jackets and some in blue aprons, served everyone with skill and care. Helping the evening run smoothly were Senior Center staffers Jim Nichols, Linda Linton and Executive Director Pam Gnekow. Board president Irene Covington handled the check-in table.

After dinner, Gnekow noted that the National Day of Prayer would be celebrated locally from 7 to 9 a.m. on May 2 with a breakfast at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. She also announced that on Sept. 18, starting at 11 am, flu shots would be available at the Senior Center.

After dinner, the Viking crew all took a bow for their cooking and their generosity to the center.

Gnekow noted with gratitude that the seven-passenger Dodge Caravan that the Vikings purchased for the center last year has been in constant use since its arrival, taking seniors to medical appointments throughout the valley and beyond.

Viking Ron Long explained that the Vikings are a social and philanthropic organization that provides help for the medically related needs of qualified individuals and health organizations in Santa Barbara County. Begun in 1974, the nonprofit group now has 188 members, 100 of whom are actively participating. 

At the end of dinner, Bent Olsen led the group in a lively rendition of “Han Skal Leve,” a Danish birthday song meaning, “Live Well and Live Long,” ending it with a hearty “Skal!”