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The final night of Locals Night Out was the biggest of the season. And with seven bartenders competing for bragging rights as to who is the “Best Bartender in the Napa Valley,” it was no surprise.

All seven drinks were amazing, and the judges had a hard time picking just one for that honor. In fact, two bartenders split the grand prize – Alison Barstad of La Taberna, and Joel Pfeifle of Charlie Palmer Steak Napa.

Visit either place the next time you are out for cocktails, and taste for yourself. Visit donapa.com, and you can get a listing and recipe for all the weekly winning cocktails. Then visit them all – maybe spread out over several trips.

Main Street Reunion…

Next weekend is The Weekend to enjoy vintage cars – twice. Friday night from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the old Cinedome parking lot, 150 pre-1976 cars will be on display.

The Diamond T Band, a local (really good!) cover band, will be playing. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Third and Main Streets, 400 cars will be showing. And both days are free admission. What else could you possibly have planned that tops that?

Blues, Brews & BBQ…

The 11th annual event is Saturday, Aug. 24 from Noon to 6 p.m. This one is everything that the name implies, and is always extremely popular.

There are two stages of Blues music, headlined by Alvon Johnson, a local who has performed with many well known artists, including The Drifters, The Coasters, The Shirelles, Bobby Day of Rocking’ Robin fame, and Jimmie Rodgers of Country and Western fame.

One fan said, “You owe yourself this one pleasurable evening with a man that can change your life in just one night.”

Big talk, but Johnson’s Blues back it up. Opening for him is Billy Watson. A stage of Zydeco features I*KO YAYA, who opens for Mark St. Mary-Louisiana Blues & Zydeco Band. A head’s up – wear your dancing shoes. You won’t be able to just stand there and listen.

The Beer Garden features 40 micro-brewed beers. Twenty-five bucks gets you a 5-ounce pilsner and seven tastings of your choice. That is where the second Blues stage is located, starring AC Myles and Shane Dwight.

If you just want a beer or glass of wine without the Garden experience, that’s available too.

Count on having an appetite, either because you show up hungry, or the aroma from 15 barbecue grills is too much to resist. Admission and parking are free for this event, too, and there is free valet bicycle parking as well.

Thanks to the Blue Moon, Coors Light, the Napa Valley Register, Bank of Marin, Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet and Toyota, the Napa Valley Marketplace, Upstage Productions and the city of Napa for their support. Without them, none of this could happen.

See you downtown!

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Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association and the author of “Lies That Bind – How Do You Arrest Someone Who Doesn’t Exist?” which recently won a Bay Area Publisher’s Association Fiction Award. craig@donapa.com or 257-0322.

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