The Book Loft on Friday kicked off a weekend anniversary celebration, marking 50 years in Solvang.
The afternoon event was attended by members of the community, tourists and store staff who gathered outdoors to honor the momentous occasion.
Owner Kathy Mullins, who had been surprised with the celebratory fete, was recognized for her vision and hard work by city officials who led a community toast and special presentation.
Born from a love of books and reading, Mullins and her late husband, Gary, opened The Book Loft a half century ago in April of 1970.
The store, which started out in a small space upstairs above Rasmussen's on Copenhagen Drive, exclusively sold new paperbacks.
In 1975, the Mullins purchased an empty lot on Mission Drive and constructed the large multistory bookstore that has been called home ever since.
The Book Loft has since grown to become a coveted community institution, gathering a following of bibliophiles from across the globe to its downtown storefront.
The Book Loft, located at 1680 Mission Drive in Solvang, now houses thousands of titles — from new releases to rare and antiquarian — a fully stocked children’s section, a big puzzles and games area, and The Hans Christian Andersen Museum.
The bookstore's 50th anniversary celebration, featuring special discounts and surprises, will run through the weekend. The event includes a visit from The Little Mermaid and a sunset serenade on Saturday, as well as a meet-and-greet with the Snow Queen and a "Make Your Own Bookmark" family activity scheduled for Sunday.
Lisa André covers local news and lifestyles for Santa Ynez Valley News.
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