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Wells Casten

Wells Casten of the St. Helena Cooperative Nursery School holds a decorated cookie.

I’m in mourning, Dear Readers. Main Street Books is closing Saturday. If you have a few minutes, drop in and wish Liza Russ the best. Her store was an oasis of serenity, knowledge, joy and decency amidst a coarse world that increasingly seems to lack all four. Its closure is a grim reminder that local-serving businesses can’t keep serving us if we insist on being served by a rapacious online monster whose name begins with A.

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On to less depressing news. Nimbus Arts’ second annual Community Open House and Art Market will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at 649 Main St. A flyer promises free art activities, a “Hands on Fire” ceramics sale, a Raku Firing demonstration, and a holiday art market that should give you a good head start on your Christmas list.

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Speaking of Christmas shopping, the St. Helena Winter Market is returning the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Native Sons Hall. Expect fabulous arts, crafts, ceramics, jewelry, food, drink and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. On Sunday, Maureen Kelly of the St. Helena Cooperative Nursery School will be decorating Christmas cookies with kids from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (See the accompanying photo of the adorable Wells Casten.)

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Alexandria Brown scoured local archives to write “Hidden History of Napa Valley,” which looks at the role of marginalized groups, from the Wappo to the Braceros, in Napa County history. The Napa Valley Wine Library has invited her to discuss her work at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Glendale Ranch, 750 Conn Valley Road outside St. Helena. There’s no charge, but space is limited, so you’ll need to reserve a spot at napawinelibrary.com.

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Gott’s Roadside is holding a companywide Day of Giving on Wednesday, Nov. 20, donating 20% of all sales to local K-12 education foundations, including the Napa Valley Education Foundation. Devour a burger, fries and shake and help kids at the same time? Sounds like a deal to me.

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The St. Helena Public Library is offering an evening with Latino winemakers at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. Latinos whose parents started out picking grapes are now running their own wineries and making their own wine. Come meet them and sample their wine.

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HAAA-lelujah! Craig Bond’s St. Helena Chamber Singers are once again gracing us with a pair of performances of Handel’s “Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the St. Helena Performing Arts Center. “It continues to be thrilling to perform in our home venue – the SHPAC – with its brilliant tech-y and comfort advantages,” writes chorister Shannon Kuleto. “Plus the whole choir is extra-energized this year as a number of our members (me included) will be performing the Messiah a second time over Thanksgiving in NYC at Carnegie Hall, just two weeks before we bring all our experience back to bear hear in town.” Tickets are $30 at the door (if available) or $25 in advance at brownpapertickets.com or the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company.

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Here’s a good St. Helena trivia question: Where in town can you rent a U-Haul? Answer: Nowhere. But as of a few weeks ago, you can rent one at the Howell Mountain Ace Hardware in Angwin, which has signed on as a U-Haul neighborhood dealer. You can reserve a U-Haul by calling 200-4151 or going to uhaul.com. (Sorry about the trick question.)

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Regretting that she missed Larry Vuckovich’s fabulous Oct. 19 gig at the Tucker Farm Center, a reader asked about his next show. The good news for her is that Larry isn’t slowing down as he approaches his 83rd birthday, booking shows in Berkeley (this past Sunday), Mountain View (Nov. 17), San Rafael (Nov. 30), and Oakland (Dec. 8, his birthday). The bad news is that no Napa Valley shows have been announced. But keep an eye on larryvuckovich.com, where you can also buy tickets for the aforementioned shows. (And if you can’t wait, San Rafael is just over an hour away.)

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Have you seen the community art display on the side of Vasconi’s? Passersby are invited to use a piece of chalk to finish the sentence “Before I die I want to ______.” Some of my favorite responses: “Ride a turtle.” “Be a ballerina.” “Experience undistorted love.” My own response, as I hurry to finish this column: “Make my deadline.”

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