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Feature: Solvang's Marketing


Solvang would be just another city without the colorful flags, ornately-decorated buildings, and a commitment to marketing itself as a destination with something unique--culture. Decades ago this one-of-a-king Danish community in Central Coast California developed its assets and ethnicity, then hung on to them and made a decision to fight for what the locals knew would work.


Less than an hour from one of California's most recognized beach destination, Santa Barbara, Solvang is set amongst rolling hills of the the Central Coast. With no beach nearby, the city's best asset and employer is its tourism. Solvang has more hotels than any other city between Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach, and it does a decent job of keeping the hotel rooms booked, thanks to some creativity and marketing. While the village ambience sustains itself mostly, economic conditions, weather and other factors don't always guarantee a full house. Solvang's solution has been to keep the event calendar full and offer tourists enough to do that they keep coming back to celebrate. Not stuck in the food mode or even Danish Days mode, however, the events have include bike competitions, motorcycle rides, and other specialty events to keep the buzz going. Surrounded by over 30 wineries in the Central Coast wine country, Solvang's hotel rooms are in the affordable range, and there are plenty of restaurants serving home-cooked meals, pastries, desserts, and fast food restaurants on the edge of town in Buellton. Families love Solvang and so do international travelers who find the themed city a refreshing side trip off of Highway 101.  My three must do's in Solvang include: visit the Solvang Mission grounds (free); buy some breakfast pastries for my dad; and buy a heaping serving of Rotkraut (sweet & sour red cabbage). Pretty simply stuff, but these are three reasons I go to Solvang. One of the top reasons lots of you think about, Chumash Casino is three miles away, featuring not only gambling, but top name acts in concerts and comedy shows.



Events for March 12, 2009


BERKELEY - Ladysmith Black Mambazo Concert. The eight-member group has introduced the beauties of Zulu harmony to a wide international audience over the last four decades, recording more than 40 albums and collaborating with artists ranging from Paul Simon to the English Chamber Orchestra to Dolly Parton. Time: 8 p.m. Cost:  $24 - 46. Location: UC Berkeley, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA. Call: (510) 642-9988. (other Ladysmith performances in California include March 14 in Santa Rosa, and March 16 in Davis.)


LA QUINTA - La Quinta Arts Festival. 27th Annual La Quinta Arts Festival is considered one of Southern California‚Äôs premier fine art celebrations presenting 250 renowned artists. Presented by La Quinta Arts Foundation, this event includes sculpture, painting, photography, textile, jewelry, mixed media, and fine craft complimented by live entertainment, refreshments and free parking. Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $12/person; Free/ 12 and under. Location:  La Quinta Civil Center Campus, 78150 Calle Tampico, La Quinta, CA. Call: (760) 564-1244.


LOS ANGELES - Pippin, musical. This coming of age story of King Charlemagne's oldest son features is a fairy tale that captivated audiences on Broadway. Time 8 p.m. Cost: $72 - 340. Location:  Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center, Center Theatre Group, 135 North Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA.


SAN DIEGO - Rent, musical.  This performance includes two original Broadway stars of the show, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. Time: 7 p.m. Cost: $18 - 84. Location:  Location: San Diego Civic Theatre, 3rd & B St., San Diego, CA 92101. Call: (619) 570-1100.




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