Craig Smith

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

J.L. Sousa/Register

Join your family and friends Wed., Nov. 22, 6 p.m. at Veterans Park for the annual Christmas tree lighting.

Cookies will be provided by Sweetie Pie’s, whose baked goods are endorsed by Santa himself (Sweetie Pie’s owner Toni Chiappetta is, after all, one of Santa’s top elves).

Hot chocolate will be provided by Downtown Joe’s. Boy Scout troop 2 will be on-hand to serve it all up, free of charge.

Entertainment this year includes dancing from Napa Valley Dance Center and the Pepperette Baton and Dance Club.

Andrew Moore, a Napa musical gem, will lead a group of singing children.

Mayor Jill Techel will be joined by a host of dignitaries, including Congressman Mike Thompson, to lead all children in a countdown to light the tree. It’s all free and open to the public.

… And the Christmas parade!

Napa’s Christmas parade is a nighttime event, and participants string lights on floats, people, even animals, to illuminate the night. Sat., Nov. 25, the parade begins at 5 p.m.

The route starts on Second at School, travels down Second to Brown Street, right on Brown, then right on Third and back to School.

This year’s parade theme is “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

Awards of $500 each will be given to the winners in three categories – Best Use of Lights, Best Theme-Oriented and Best Use of Music.

Fair and impartial judging is handled by members of the Kiwanis Club of Napa, led by Jim Roberts and his co-judges Mindy Wyman and Erin Meyers. Danis Kreimeier and Jill Cadloni handle emcee duties.

Congregants from The Father’s House will bring up the rear, cleaning the streets, returning them to pristine condition. The Father’s House actually calls the parade organizers to volunteer every year.

It’s one of the many ways they thank Napa. Forty of them will be at work in their “We Love Napa” T-shirts. Say hello and thank them, please.

Grand Marshal duties are being shared by husband and wife Greg Cole and Beth Fairbairn, co-founders of Celadon and Cole’s Chop House.

The two honorees have always made giving back to the community a priority, generously supporting numerous local causes including Napa Valley Education Foundation, Reach for the Stars, Napa County Hispanic Network, Napa Valley Museum, Napa Valley College Foundation, NEWS and COPE.

Honoring them as Grand Marshals for their contributions to downtown Napa and the community is a natural.

Santa makes his entrance in a sled led by flying reindeer – this is one you don’t want to miss. Following the parade, Santa will be in the Big Chair in the breezeway at the Napa Riverfront Building on Main Street. It’s all free. Details at


The total for the Nov. 4 Downtown DoNapa Crawl, a fundraiser to support the Disaster Relief Fund at Napa Valley Community Foundation, is now up to $38,000. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Happy Thanksgiving.

See you downtown!

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association. Reach him at 257-0322 or