Adding to the overall merriment of Solvang's Juelfest festivities, the City of Solvang has announced plans to include a choreographed drone show themed “Aurora Dronealis” in the monthlong calendar of events.

The holiday drone show, slated for Saturday, Dec. 21, will be added to an already packed schedule of events that includes the return of the holiday scavenger hunt "Nisse Adventure," evening Candlelight Tours, free visits with Santa in Solvang Park, the annual Tree Lighting event and Julefest Parade. 

Scott Shuemake, President of IDK Events, producers of the 2019 Solvang Julefest, says the drones will be viewable from as far as five miles away from the launching pad, located on Solvang Lot 72100, Alisal Mesa Road, Solvang.

“Aurora Dronealis exemplifies Solvang’s melding of old fashioned holiday charm with cutting-edge, modern technology,” Shuemake said. “This Christmas Drone Show is an ‘only in Solvang’ happening, meant to brand the town in visitors’ minds as the ultimate Southern California holiday experience.”

Sponsored by the City of Solvang and designed and executed by Firefly Drone Shows, one of only a handful of FAA-licensed drone show operators in the U.S., a fleet of drones soaring a few thousand feet in the air, will entertain spectators with a 15-minute display of wonderment. 

One hundred autonomous drones choreographed to a custom music soundtrack, appearing like fireflies above downtown Solvang, will synchronize and morph into larger-than-life holiday imagery in the night skies.

“We’re so excited for this fantastic holiday display," said Solvang Mayor Ryan Toussaint. "We can’t imagine a more grand expression of what Solvang has to offer during the holiday season. It is quite literally, a shining example of all that’s new to Julefest, and to the entire town.” 

Aside from its entertainment value, Shuemake confirms that the new drone show will not produce the level of noise that fireworks do, which often scares pets. Fire, smoke and safety concerns which arise from firework displays, will also be nonexistent.

“We’re taking this very festive opportunity to re-emphasize Solvang Julefest as a holiday event. We’re keeping the aspects that everyone looks forward to, just sprinkling in some added seasonal charm,” Shuemake said.

GALLERY: 2016 Julefest parade Solvang

In an effort to breathe new life into a Solvang tradition, attract visitors and shoppers and put the city firmly on the holiday tourism map, Solvang City Council on Monday enthusiastically threw its support — and up to $110,000 — behind bringing a lighted drone show and light show to Julefest.

Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. 


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