Snow wasn’t in the forecast for Napa County on Saturday, but snowballs were flying through Shenandoah Park in American Canyon for the city’s annual Snow Day celebration.

Hundreds of families came out for some chilly cheer to kickstart their holidays. Festivities included two snow areas, a 90-foot slide, reindeer and pony races, visits with Santa and live music provided by The Search.

“It’s the coolest,” said Cameron Vale, 8, as he waited in line to return to the snow area after spending the previous session pelting friends Nihal Rattu and Esteban Vidal with snowballs. “It’s so much fun. I could do this all day.”

Fifty people at a time were allowed into the snow areas for 10-minute periods. In between sessions, volunteers raked and shoveled snow to freshen the field. New snow was laid down by San Jose Ice Company throughout the day to make sure there was plenty of fun for everyone, no matter what time they arrived during the five-hour event.

“We hope that Snow Day brings a lot of great holiday fun and cheer to our community,” said Creighton Wright, American Canyon Parks and Recreation director. “We want to bring everyone together for this special time of year, and each year we plan a little more. We have new characters this year. We try to have something for everyone, so that no matter your age, you can have fun at Snow Day.”

Shaun and Joanne Maharaj enjoyed time in the snow with daughters Ava, 7, and Olivia, 2.

“It’s so nice to have this here at home,” Joanne said. “Instead of having to drive up to Reno or Tahoe, we can play here for a while, and this is Olivia’s first time in snow, so it’s nice to be close to home in case she doesn’t take to it.”

Bundled in a heavy pink jacket with the hood up, Olivia scooped ice into her monkey mitten-covered hands and tossed it at her father. “She seems to like it,” Shaun said. “As soon as she walked onto the snow, she flopped over and started making a snow angel.”

While families enjoyed the festivities, Sherri Cassidy, American Canyon Parks and Recreation administrative assistant, patrolled Shenandoah Park dressed as The Grinch. Last year, dressed as a gingerbread man, Cassidy spent hours delighting children, but her Grinch was getting mixed reviews.

“I guess I should have anticipated that some of the kids might cry,” Cassidy said. “I’m telling kids I’m a good Grinch, the nice Grinch from the end of the movie. I hope I don’t scare too many little ones. I love dressing up as the characters, and I think this is such a wonderful community event.

“Some of our families have never been to the snow, so to have all these fun things right here in the park – for free – I think it’s just another thing that makes American Canyon so special.”

American Canyon’s Magic of the Season holiday series continues with a community scavenger hunt called “I Spy Rudolph” on Dec. 12-13, and Santa and his sleigh will appear at the Walmart parking lot on Main Street on Dec. 16-17. For more information, visit


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Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Her column Simple & Sassy runs on alternating Sundays.