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Modified Solvang Julefest celebration coming to town Nov. 28
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Modified Solvang Julefest celebration coming to town Nov. 28

Solvang Julefest will return this holiday season with a modified version of the annual monthlong celebration, featuring candlelight tours, elf tracking and after-hours shopping and dining in the town's center.

Festivities are set to kick off Saturday, Nov. 28, and run through Friday, Jan. 1.

The 2020 lineup, which has been modified to meet Santa Barbara County Health Department COVID-19 safety guidelines, will continue to evolve over the course of the next month, according to Scott Shuemake, president of IDK Events, producers of the 2020 Solvang Julefest.

“With so many holiday season activities being canceled this year, we are both fortunate and thrilled that we can still host some of Solvang’s annual Julefest festivities," Shuemake said. “As we said last year, we’re in the business of making memories through experiences. We still take that job very seriously, and Solvang Julefest 2020 will be no different.”

Preliminary plans will include the annual Nisse Adventure, where participants will be invited to join in a citywide hunt for the mysterious Solvang Nisse — Christmas elves — hidden throughout downtown Solvang.

Clues pointing to various hiding spots around town will be provided online at With every Nisse found, elf trackers can scan a QR code to continue along the adventure, earning a special prize upon completion of the hunt.

Every Saturday throughout the month, educational and entertaining tour options also will be offered to the public.

Foodie experts at Eat This, Shoot That! will lead holiday-themed "Solvang Food Tours," providing food and photo opportunities to touring foodies.

Candlelight tours through Solvang will be offered to the public, led by holiday docents as a way for participants to explore the history-filled village on foot during the town's most festive time of year.

More than 100 local merchants participating in a tree-decorating contest, similar to the Solvang Scarecrow Fest, will display their vibrant Christmas spruces throughout the town's streets, and will welcome guests during the day and in the after-hours for shopping and dining.

“Solvang Julefest is a holiday season staple on California’s Central Coast," Schuemake said. "We’re hoping to keep as many of the aspects that everyone looks forward to as possible while enhancing the overall Christmas vibe in town through COVID-safer, open-air opportunities.” 

The holiday event is open to the public, with either free or paid admission, and is produced by the city of Solvang in partnership with IDK Events.

For Julefest event updates and announcements, visit

Lisa André covers local news and lifestyles for Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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