Craig Smith

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

J.L. Sousa/Register

Just a reminder that tonight and tomorrow are the final nights of the digital art displays in downtown Napa. The best way to enjoy the art is to walk from building to building, so you can watch each image as it dissolves and evolves into something else. Think of the lights on the SF Bay Bridge as an example. A full map of the buildings is available at Five to 10 p.m. both nights.

Let there be tubas!

This afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m., it’s a Tuba Christmas in Veterans Park. Band leader Alan Parks will lead an orchestra of tubas and euphoniums. Sound crazy? Trust me – it will be fun.

Much more than grapes…

In 1960, the Particelli and Lucchesi families bought the successful Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company, a small, family owned and operated business in St. Helena.

The store evolved to become an Italian market, which it is to this day. Five years ago, the families opened their second location at 1331 First St., across from Norman Rose, a space they share with Square One Wine Tasting.

Years ago, grapes squeezed olives out of the valley, but the families had established great relationships with growers in the Sacramento Valley, and continued to buy from them. Meanwhile, the demand for olive oil has risen dramatically.

“In the last 10 years, olive oil specialty shops have taken off,” said Stefano Particelli, part of the third generation to work in the family business.

While acknowledging that others are making great olive oil, he makes a great case for selecting theirs.

“Our family has been doing this for 50 years and people like our blends,” he said.

“We offer 25 different types of olive oil, from straight, extra virgin, to those using different olive varietals. Some are infused with herbs, citrus oils, wild mushrooms, truffles, and blood oranges, to name a few.”

They also carry 20 types of balsamic vinegar. “We have an 18-year-old traditional, plus peach, strawberry, fig, blackberry ginger. Even dark chocolate.”

Particelli has been working in the family business his whole life.

“Paid or unpaid, I’ve grown up doing this,” he said.

A trained chef, he left for a while and spent times in different kitchens, first at Go Fish and then Bottega in St. Helena, but the tug of the olive oil was too great to resist, and he returned to the family business.

Lately, friends have given him the nudge to pick up his knives again, and Particelli now caters a few private parties.

“My friends reignited the spark to get back in the kitchen. I can do a few parties here and there and have fun.”

He married Amy in 2014, and their twins, Dante and Luca, are now a year and a half old.

“It all keeps me busy.”

Napa Valley Olive Oil is open daily. Sampling is encouraged. 265-6866 and

See you downtown!

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