Solvang has been selected as one of America’s best towns in which to celebrate Christmas. In fact, the word experts use is “Christmassy.”

There are a plethora of reasons for such a singular distinction, and we’ll get to those in a moment, but for now …

Are you ready for some Julefest?

That’s the Danish way of saying yule party, but no matter how you say or spell it, the fun starts tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. and doesn’t really end until the massive pile of holiday trees goes up in flames on Jan. 5.

Sorry, NFL, but Monday Night Football can’t compare to the fun we’re going to have over the next month.

Actually, the editing geniuses at Time Magazine produced the aforementioned sobriquet, officially naming Solvang one of the “most Christmassy towns in America.” The website went a step beyond and called Solvang “one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in the U.S.”

Who are we to disagree? Any skeptic out there who disagrees just needs to wait until after dark, then take a stroll around town. We defy you to count all the holiday lights.

We saw on the internet the other day that psychologists believe indoor and outdoor lighting during the Christmas season is a mood enhancer. Well duh.

The official start of Julefest is actually Solvang’s own version of Black Friday, as local stores open early and offer deep discounts.

The real, non-commercial party begins at Solvang Park tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. when members of the Vikings of Solvang will participate in the flipping of the light switch, a symbolic beginning of the month-long festivities.

It’s enormously significant that the Vikings crew will be on hand, because the local organization’s members have been selected grand marshals of Julefest, a singular honor, and one based on the Vikings’ good deeds over the years.

Since the mid-1970s, the Vikings have raised and donated nearly $3 million to local causes, primarily to improve the life quality for individuals and families in need. We can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to a great group of local heroes.

Solvang Julefest 2017 will feature some new activities, they’re all free to the public, and include candlelight walking tours and free live music in Solvang Park. Of course there also will be traditional favorites, including visits with Santa “Julemanden” in Solvang Park on Dec. 1, 2, 9 and 16. Also on tap are the Solvang Chamber of Commerce Shop, Mingle & Jingle Weekends, Nativity Pageant, Holiday Wine & Beer Walk, and wrapping up with the Christmas tree burn Friday, Jan. 5.

We believe that should be enough to keep everyone busy, and we’ve only skimmed some of the bigger events. There’s always something interesting happening during Julefest.

The long-range weather forecast calls for a spot of rain early in December and typically cool weather, so bring warm clothing, especially for the evening events. Nothing violent in the weather picture, but you know, this is California so the best advice is to be be prepared for just about anything.

But don’t worry, when the light switch gets flipped tomorrow evening, our world changes. Even the darkest of moods can be repaired by the brightness of the holiday season.

And if the lights don’t get your feel-good motor running, there will be ample opportunities to sample some of Denmark’s finest culinary creations. We’re referring, of course, to the aebleskiver, traditional Danish pancakes or puffs. If you’ve never sampled that delicacy, you are in for one of life’s great pleasures.

Happy Julefest!


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