Craig Smith

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

J.L. Sousa/Register

A park full of people came out the Napa Tree Lighting ceremony last week, enjoying 800 cookies courtesy of Sweetie Pies and gallons of hot chocolate from Downtown Joe’s.

The Pepperette Baton & Dance Club performed, as did the Napa Valley Dance Center. Thank you to both groups. As the applause indicated, the audience loved them.

Saturday after Thanksgiving was the 54th annual Napa Christmas Parade.

Santa made his usual grand entrance, escorted by Vintage High Performing Arts Dance. The two dozen elves from that group paved the way for Santa, then made sure that every child (and adult) who wanted the ear of the Jolly Old Man got time in his lap.

Thank you Lisa Sullivan, who leads that program, and Stacie McGreal, who assists.

After the parade, 20 or 30 volunteers from The Fathers House made sure the streets and sidewalks were in pristine condition.

They’ve taken on that task for years now, wearing their “We Love Napa” tee shirts and smiling as they work.

Holiday trolley rides…

The free decorated trolley from Beau Tours runs a 15 to 20 minute route throughout downtown and the Oxbow every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23.

Hop on (or off) near the CIA Copia, at Pearl and Main, Dwight Murray Plaza, or in front of the Riverfront Building, across from the Napa River Inn.

And horse drawn carriage rides, as well…

Thursdays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, enjoy a free horse drawn carriage ride, departing from the Napa River Inn. This one is so popular that a second carriage was added last year, cutting down the wait time significantly. The price is right – free.


If you were at the Christmas tree lighting, you heard what eight tubas and euphoniums sound like playing together (hint – good!).

Two dozen of them will perform from 2 to 4 p.m. in Veterans Park, Sat., Dec. 16. And, of course, it’s free.

Napa Lighted Arts Festival…

This one may take the cake. Napa’s newest event premiers Dec. 9, 5 to 10 p.m., and runs through the 17th, same hours.

If you’ve seen the lights on the Bay Bridge, you’ll have an idea of what this one is all about. Artists will do digital light displays, specifically designed to fit the facades of eight buildings downtown. It is nothing short of spectacular, as you can see in the video at

Seriously, take out your phone or turn on your iPad, look this up, and see how cool it is. Words, at least mine, cannot describe it any better than seeing it for yourself.

Book reading…

Napa Bookmine, at 964 Pearl St., regularly features writers introducing new books. Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., a new novelist will be reading – me! “Lies that Bind – How do you arrest somebody who doesn’t exist?” a Napa-based mystery, is my first. Join me, please.

See you downtown!

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