Craig Smith's Downtown Talk: Ho, Ho, ho… in downtown Napa
Downtown Talk

Craig Smith's Downtown Talk: Ho, Ho, ho… in downtown Napa


It might seem a bit early for a Santa reference, but the downtown Christmas activities are starting in three weeks, and you don’t want to miss a thing. Here’s what you can look forward to:

Napa Christmas tree lighting…

Join your family and friends on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 6 p.m. in Veterans Park, for the annual tree lighting.

If there was ever an event with a true hometown feel, the tree lighting is it. Several groups of local dancers will perform, followed by the mayor leading everyone in a countdown to light the tree.

Downtown Joe’s will bring the free hot chocolate, and Sweetie Pies will give away lots of their homemade sugar cookies.

It’s a relatively short ceremony, just the right length to hold the attention span of small children without them getting antsy. And when they see the tree light up – well, it’s Christmas magic.

Napa’s Christmas parade…

Enjoy turkey with the family, shopping on Friday and during the day on Saturday head downtown for the 5 p.m. Christmas parade.

This is a lighted parade – people build and light floats, cars – even small children are draped with strands of lights. The theme is The Twelve Days of Christmas, and three $500 cash prizes will be given to the entry that mostly closely follows the theme, one with the best lights and a the third to the best music.

If you have any doubts about how creative Napans can be when it comes to their Christmas parade, come check this one out.

No parade is worth its Christmas seasoning unless Santa appears. It’s all about how naughty and nice Napans have been for the year, and the initial buzz is that Napans have been pretty darn good, and the Jolly Old Man will make an appearance.

Encourage your kids to bring their Christmas wish lists – Santa is going to be in the lobby of Archer hotel after the parade, and he won’t leave until he’s had to the chance to talk to everyone who wants an audience with him. The Elves of Archer will have plenty of free hot chocolate on hand.

Holiday trolley rides…

Starting on Friday, Dec. 6 from 3 to 6 p.m., and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Christmas, a free Holiday Trolley will roll through the downtown streets, playing Christmas carols and stopping at four locations for people to hop on and off.

This has become quite a tradition for families, young and old alike, and is not to be missed.

Tuba Christmas…

Tubas? You bet – a whole band made up of nothing but, and they have been playing great Christmas tunes, and a whole lot more, for years. Veterans Memorial Park at Main and Third, Saturday, Dec. 7 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Check out all the details for these events at And even though it might seem early – Happy Holidays!

See you downtown!

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

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