Staff Report

Visit the Santa Ynez Valley (VisitSYV) aims to bring a little more light and joy to the holiday season this year by lighting up the iconic windmill on Alisal Road in Solvang. 

Photo contributed
The windmill is a beloved icon in the Solvang that was commissioned by Ray Paaske and completed in 1963.

Located at 436 Alisal Road, the windmill is a beloved icon in the Danish village of Solvang. Commissioned by Ray Paaske and completed in 1963, the design was inspired by a mill on Zealand, near Copenhagen in Denmark*. Owned today by local resident and business owner, Max Handberg, VisitSYV approached Hanberg with the idea of decorating the windmill, which has been a longtime visitor-favorite for photo-ops. 

“With traditional events not taking place this year, we wanted to find a safe way to add a little extra holiday magic to the Santa Ynez Valley,” VisitSYV President & CEO Shelby Sim said. “Viewing the holiday lights is an activity that people can still enjoy while observing local mandates.” 

VisitSYV hopes that the decorated landmark will enhance the outdoor-focused festivities of Solvang Julefest (, a longstanding, monthlong tradition which has helped put Solvang on many national “Best Christmas Towns” lists. 

*historical information provided by Elverhøj Museum of History and Art