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One of the most unique festivals on the Central Coast returns this weekend

The festival runs Friday through Sunday
Theresa Gingras
The festival runs Friday, September 16, through Sunday, September 18

After a two-year-long hiatus for the pandemic, Solvang's Danish Days Festival is back.

The Solvang Danish Days Festival has been going since 1936, and celebrates Solvang’s Danish heritage with authentic food, music, dancing, parades, live entertainment, and family activities.

Max Hanberg, one of the organizers of the festival, says the two year pause for the pandemic has them raring to go.

"We are really looking forward to it, there's a lot of pent-up energy in the Danish community," he told KCLU of the festival being paused in 2020 and 2021 for the coronavirus pandemic.

Hanberg explained that this year, instead of one Danish Maid, there are three assigned to presiding over the festivities - 2020 Danish Maid, Isabella Lopez; 2021 Danish Maid, Kayla Bandel; and, 2022 Danish Maid, Aleena Madrid.

Solvang's Danish Days Festival returns after a two year pause for the pandemic
Theresa Gingras
Solvang's Danish Days Festival returns after a two year pause for the pandemic

Ms. Bandel, age 32, will make Danish Days history as the oldest Danish Maid to hold the title which is more traditionally bestowed upon a high school senior, while Ms. Madrid serves as the first third-generation Danish Maid, following in the royal footsteps of her mother and grandmother (Ashlee Madrid, Danish Maid in 1999, and Glenda Jaeger Madrid, Danish Maid in 1971).

The 2022 Solvang Danish Days theme – “Velkommen Igen” (“Welcome Again”) – will be celebrated during this year’s event, which honors the 1911 establishment of Solvang by Danish-Americans.

The weekend’s varied offerings include activities for all ages ranging from fan-favorite food events surrounding Æbleskiver, the iconic Danish pastry rounds; to a Danish-style beer and wine garden serving Danish import, Carlsberg beer, alongside local brews, wines and festival eats; to an axe throwing arena; interactive history lessons at the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art; story time sessions with Hans Christian Andersen; to a guided Solvang Food & Photo Tour; and, an Old World artisanal crafts marketplace.

Solvang Danish Days starts Friday and runs through Sunday.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.