SOLVANG, Calif. - Thousands of people watched the sold-out Christmas Drone Show at Solvang's annual Julesfest Saturday night.
The show, named "Aurora Dronealis," was the only California holiday drone show during the month of December and successfully attracted more than 1,600 ticketed guests.
Thousands of visitors and locals were also able to watch the show from up to a five mile radius if they were not able to get tickets.
The drone show took place after dark on Saturday and lasted 12 minutes.
Aurora Dronealis featured 100 autonomous drones which were piloted by Firefly Drone Shows, the display’s creators.
This light show was one of many events that took place during this year's Solvang Julesfest which runs from Nov. 30 to Jan. 3.
“We've mixed the more traditional Julefest holiday celebrations with some exciting new elements, hoping that the new pieces of the month-long event will also become traditions in their own right, making the festivities that much more attractive to younger generations and new visitors,” said Solvang Mayor Ryan Toussaint.
The Christmas drone show contained holiday imagery and danced along to a playlist of classic holiday tunes, all programmed by the 2019 Solvang Julefest event producers, IDK Events.
The show was also preceded by a performance from the local Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band and Santa Ynez High School Concert Choir.
Mayor Toussaint then introduced the show by thanking the regional sponsors who had supported this year’s Julefest by donating nearly $40,000.
Solvang said the drone show was a calculated idea for a new Christmas event that was seen as a more viable fireworks alternative. The drone show was pet-friendlier (do to decreased noise), potentially safer for wildlife, more eco-conscious and sustainable and posed a decreased fire risk.
Solvang will be ending its 2019 Julesfest with a Christmas Tree Burn and Fire Safety Demonstration on Jan. 3.
To learn about the other activities Solvang has to offer this time of year, visit www.solvangjulefest.org.