Locals proud of Solvang's National Recognition

May 20, 2016
Locals proud of Solvang's National Recognition

A fourth grade class trip to Mission Santa Ines was all it took for Solvang Councilwoman Joan Jamieson to fall for the little Danish village she would later call her home.

“On that visit to Mission Santa Ines, I discovered Solvang, the bakeries, the gift shops and the happy residents,” Jamieson said. “What fun I had with my classmates.”

And Solvang’s Danish heritage is certainly something that has continued throughout the years, she said.

“I’m so proud of how our local Danes, and others, have kept their heritage and culture alive through celebrations, both private family times and public occasions (like) Danish Days and Julefest, plus the teachings of the local history,” Jamieson said.

All that came together earlier this month when Solvang was named by USA Today as one of the nation’s top 10 historic small towns.

“Having been born, raised and lived my life in or near Solvang, there is no question, hands down, that Solvang is a great little city,” Councilman Hans Duus said. “I am very pleased that so many others felt the same way.”

The competition, voted on by readers, defined its nominees as having “big histories and small populations.” The nominees were also considered fun and affordable places that gave both visitors and locals a chance to delve into the nation’s past.

Solvang was described as a “thriving hub of Scandinavian architecture and culture.”

“It was an honor to be named one of the top 10 historically significant small towns in America,” Mayor Jim Richardson said. “It wouldn’t have happened without the help of the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau and the citizens who felt the pride of living in Solvang. The citizens of the Valley voted in numbers enough to award us as number six out of the top 10.”

Duus also credited former residents for helping out. 

“I also know for a fact that people who I started kindergarten with and who have not lived here for decades helped support their hometown, Solvang, by voting and sharing with their friends,” Duus said. “That says it all." City Manager Brad Vidro was also appreciative of the honor, and said it means a lot to the city.

“We appreciate all ‘national’ publicity, as it results in more potential visits to Solvang by tourists,” Vidro said. “Tourism is Solvang’s main industry and it generates more than 50 percent of our general fund revenue. The tourist-generated revenue helps the city provide services not only to the tourist population but the local residents.”

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