The Grinch really is stealing Christmas this year.
Well, part of it anyway.
The traditional Calistoga Christmas Faire, held every year for the past 49 years as part of the Calistoga Christmas Celebration, will not take place this year due to lack of funds and volunteers.
“Without adequate funding or volunteers, we just can’t sustain the drain on dwindling resources. Our sole focus has been to keep our treasured community events running, but we have led this mission with our hearts. Now it’s time to take pause and replenish our losses. If we don’t, we won’t make it through another season,” said Karan Schlegel, board chair of Celebrate! Napa Valley.
The board hasn’t been receiving any income from the fairgrounds since they removed themselves from it in January and needs to raise money (formerly known as the Napa County Fair Association, the board rebranded itself Celebrate! Napa Valley). They’ve also had a very difficult time recruiting volunteers, said Christy Gentry, the Faire’s publicist.
The board is instead directing its efforts towards plans for next year, and a 50th Christmas Faire Celebration Dec. 5, 2020.
“Rather than doing something mediocre this year, they really wanted to make the 50th celebration pop so the decision to move it to 2020 will allow the board to complete recruiting board members, hiring an executive director, re-evaluating the solvency of the organization, and do some fundraising for the event,” Gentry said.
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The Faire has been a part of the larger annual Christmas celebration in Calistoga that draws thousands of people for the Faire, Christmas Tree lighting, shopping events, good cheer, and culminates in the Lighted Tractor Parade.
Each year, the Faire takes about 100 volunteers and more than a week to transform the Tubbs Building on N. Oak Street into the community bazaar.
Typically, about 60 vendors participate with jewelry, baked goods, packaged candy, leather handbags, wine totes, upcycled yard art, dog cookies, barrel furniture, artwork, and more.
Last year was the first year the culinary program at Calistoga High School participated in the Faire. Students cooked and served breakfast and lunch items.
Aside from the Faire, a multitude of holiday-related activities are also typically offered all day long in the next-door Butler Building, such as crafting for adults and children, cookie and cupcake decorating, and wreath-making workshops.
The annual Community Christmas Dinner, which is held by the Parks & Recreation Department, will continue as usual this year.