It was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators, who opened a Danish-language college, a grade school and a Lutheran Church.
In 1946 civic boosters came up with the idea of transforming the town into a "Danish village" and false fronts were put on the buildings. Fanciful windmills were built. Roofs with decoratively-cut cedar shakes were put on buildings. Soon, it became a tourist attraction. The Annual Danish Days celebration began in 1936, and without realizing it, we picked that weekend this year to make our impromptu getaway to wine country!
There were quite a lot of people in costume, and there were horse-drawn beer wagons to carry fairgoers around the site. I hope the Carlsberg horses weren't drinking the brew!
Here's a horned Viking asking directions at the info booth - which way to the dragonships, please miss?
There were crafts booths with displays of traditional weaving, papercutting, and carving.
Here's a pretty wooden chair decorated in paint - this tradition is called rosemaling, and although it's really Norwegian, I suppose we're all Scandinavian on Danish Days.
As in any immigrant community, the traditions of the Old World have evolved and mingled with those of the New. This fellow was displaying the traditional Scandinavian art of...er...chain-saw carving. Reminds me of a Ballard thing.
The festival features what they call an Aebleskiver-Eating Contest. What's an Aebleskiver? Sounds like some kind of strange animal, doesn't it?
Well, it's a round, puffed-up fritter or pancake, served with stewed fruit or preserves and powdered sugar. Mmmmm! I'd be up for that!
They also had sausages. Who doesn't like sausages?
But - this is California, after all. So at the Solvang Danish festival, you could also get Santa Maria barbecued tri-tip, wrapped in fresh tortillas!
Viva Denmark, amigo!!!!