Craig Smith

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

J.L. Sousa/Register

Apparently, more Napans have been nice than naughty, so the Big Man in the Red Suit will be coming to town, Saturday around 6 p.m. He’ll make his arrival in the Napa Christmas parade, which is Saturday at 5 p.m. on First and Second streets.

Santa will make quite a splash this year, as he will be led in the parade by eight flying reindeer. That’s flying as in airborne, a first for him. It’s an entrance you won’t want to miss.

After the parade, Santa will go to the lobby of the Andaz hotel, where he will listen to children as they plead their case for certain gifts. (Parents might want to lean in closely to hear what’s being said).

The staff at the Andaz is going to make this fun with hot chocolate for all and a coloring contest for the kids to help Santa find his Andaz style. Color it in, submit your drawing and you could win a $100 gift certificate to the Andaz restaurant. The winner will be announced Dec. 11 on Facebook at

The Christmas parade takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and Santa’s elves from Kiwanis Club of Napa step up to the task every year. Back by popular demand are parade masters of ceremonies Danis Kreimeier and Mary Luros, who make sure the parade floats smoothly.

The toughest job of all is judging the parade to determine who will win each of two cash prizes.

Five hundred dollars is awarded to the entry that makes the best use of lights, and another $500 goes to the entry that best follows the parade theme, which this year is ‘It’s a Holly, Jolly Christmas.”

Jim Roberts, who Santa handpicked for the job, has been the lead judge for years now. Joining him is Waunice Orchid and Lance Hafenstein, with Tracy Schulze standing by to fill in, in case any of the three drinks too much hot chocolate and ends up in a sugar frenzy.

At least 30 other Kiwanians and their friends will help with parade setup and guide entries as they float down the street. It’s a big job to take on, and the downtown merchants appreciate their help.

And for more years than I can remember, congregants from The Father’s House will bring up the rear, cleaning the streets and returning them to pristine condition.

Recruiting folks for that job would be hard, but The Father’s House actually called the parade organizers and volunteered without being asked. Forty of them will be at work in their We Love Napa T-shirts. Say hello, and thank them, please.

And enjoy the parade.

Finally, we’ll end with a groaner. This one was emailed by Chuck Morse of Morse-Brooks Attorneys.

“It occurs to me that we might have the most ‘liberal’ intersection in the U.S. i.e. where Clinton and Brown Streets cross.”

See you downtown!

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


Load comments