Craig Smith

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

J.L. Sousa/Register

The city of Napa and Downtown Napa Association are hosting Coffin Races, Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Oxbow Commons.

Okay, these may not be officially sanctioned coffins (if there even is such a thing) but these races will be fun.

Teams of five — a driver and four people to push — will compete for awards and bragging rights in this annual event. Two classes will run: 8 to 12 years old, and 13 and over.

Teams have the option of building a coffin, which will run about a hundred bucks, or using one that we’ll provide.

School teams can get a free coffin prior to the event that they can decorate any way they see fit. When the races are over, walk away, and we’ll store the coffin for someone to use next year.

Not sure you are ready to commit? Come down to watch. If you decide to have a go at it, we’ll have coffins available that day.

Details of the race, including rules and regs, are available at We’ll post a video in October showing, step by step, how to build a coffin.

Special thanks to the Napa Fire Fighters who started this event four years ago. And by the way, Coffin Races are just part of the OxBOO! Festival activities, which also include a Zombie Run, family-oriented bicycle ride and great dance music from the band Notorious. Visit for all details.

Blues, Brews & BBQ…

Could there have been a hotter day to hold this event? Thanks to all of you who braved the heat this year.

One promise for 2018 – shade. It’s hard to put tents in the Oxbow Commons, because of netting just inches under the soil that keeps the ground from washing away during a flood. Organizers didn’t realize that fact until a day or two before the event, too late to come up with a tenting Plan B.

Trust us, it was just as hot for organizers as it was for attendees, and next year there will be some relief.

All in all, the feedback from the day was positive, which is not a surprise. That much good BBQ, micro-brewed beer and great Blues music is a winner every time.

A special thank you to the volunteers who ran the booth in the Beer Garden. While some may have second guessed their decision to help once the temperature hit triple digits, everyone kept a smile on their face and maintained a great attitude.

Here, in alpha order, are the folks who made: Beanie Ayers, Debbie Bawden, Linda Button, Marissa Capponi, Chris and Sue Chesbrough, Lorena Contreas, Shannon Eckerman, Ed Estin, Dan Fifer, Lance Hafenstein, Minette Havens, Michelle Hock, Eve Kahn, Denise Lantz, Sandy Leveque, Kelli McCrea, Webb Parker, Marc and Patti Renspurger, Tracy Schulze, Erika Swenson, Jobina Toh, Tom Wilson and Amber Yurk. Thanks, always, to Julie Morales, for pulling the whole thing off.

See you downtown!

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