While the final days of summer tick past the opportunities to truly enjoy life in Napa County continue this month, catapulting all of us toward the (depending-upon-your-perspective) dreaded (or celebrated) back-to-school days later in the month. I hope that by now you have been enjoying this regular monthly feature. If not, please note that I seek out activities, opportunities and events that can be found “only in Napa” and appeal to those of us that live here. As locals, unlike others, we have the rare benefit of experiencing Napa County. So, I challenge each of you to become involved either as a supporter, participant, spectator or volunteer. Here are my top “only in Napa Valley” opportunities in which to indulge, contribute, or become a part of, for August. I hope to see you out and about!
Jazz at Silo’s with Jim Bell
Wednesday, August 3 (recurring weekly) Enjoy the great jazz standards at these recurring, Wednesday-night performances by local musician, Jim Bell, at Silo’s in downtown Napa. What better activity for locals than to support a locally-based, performing artist? Light bites and beverages will be available, while the live entertainment and conversation is completely FREE. SilosNapa.com.
Yoga at Bardessono
Every Monday & Saturday
In our valley, I always seek those special activities that feel like a vacation at home. Bardessono Hotel & Spa in Yountville is one of the Napa Valley’s most luxurious, eco-conscious, hip resorts. A recent discovery is that, while globetrotting, hotel guests can practice yoga at Bardessono for free twice weekly on Monday at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday at 9:00 a.m., non-guests can experience this resort too, and attend these sessions for $15 (or purchase a pass for five classes for just $50). Bardessono.com
Answer for Cancer Research Symposium
Saturday, August 6
The V Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of some of the nation’s leading physicians and research scientists from prominent universities and cancer centers, will present current advances and discoveries into clinical applications, new diagnostics and alternative treatments for cancer at this FREE event that is open to anyone. Whose life and family hasn’t been impacted by cancer? One of my family members has been fighting for his life for more than a year, so I was thrilled to attend this symposium last year. I learned a LOT! The Napa Valley is tops for fundraising, due, in large part, to the generosity of the wine community. In addition to Auction Napa Valley and Festival Napa Valley, both exquisite events that benefit various causes, The V Foundation (an organization with a single mission: to eradicate cancer) has staged the V Foundation Wine Celebration to raise critical dollars for cancer research for 18 years right here in our region. Not only does this event attract major donors who adore wine and cuisine, it also draws an annual contingency of some of the world’s leading cancer specialists and researchers who are celebrated and treated like rock stars (as they should be) for their important work. The Answer for Cancer Research Symposium which takes place at V Marketplace in Yountville on August 6 at 9:30 a.m. is just one of many events and, I believe, the only free event, slated for the full weekend, set for August 4 - 7. WineCelebration.org
Napa Town & Country Fair
Wednesday, Aug. 10 – Sunday, Aug. 14
The Napa Fair has long been an end-of-summer-vacation, landmark event, and one of the few places to really hang with your fellow locals each year. This five-day celebration showcases displays in food, horticulture, art, livestock, education, business and also entertainment such as the carnival and live, nightly concerts in genres ranging from Country, to Pop, to Salsa, to Rock music. All concerts are FREE with Fair admission. Headliners this year include America, War, John Michael Montgomery, Morris Day and the Time and Tierra. The breezeway also features those once-per-year foods found only at the Fair such as egg rolls on a stick, funnel cakes, corn dogs and more! What’s not to love about the Fair? Get out there and celebrate! NapaValleyExpo.com
Napa Junior Livestock Auction
Saturday, August 13
Concurrent with the Napa Town & Country Fair, is the Napa County 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), livestock and small-animal program which takes place during the Fair. Many Napa County youth learn important lessons by raising, showing and, sometimes, breeding animals. Not only is it a huge responsibility for each member; those that commit to raising market animals adhere to strict care guidelines, and then have the opportunity to sell their animal(s) at auction on the Saturday of the five-day event. The Junior Livestock Auction Committee requires intense responsibility, preparation, commitment and adherence to multiple rules and guidelines, as well as proper and humane care of these animals raised for consumption. Hundreds of bidders participate by purchasing the animals at higher-than-meat-market prices purely to support our local youth. The lessons learned are deep and lasting. How much more fresh and “farm to table” can you get, than by purchasing a farm-raised animal from a local Napa County 4-H or FFA member? NapaValleyExpo.com
Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
Weekly on Saturday and Sunday Most every weekend, the DeBaun Theatre at St. Helena’s Culinary Institute of America comes to life with live-cooking demos, performed by renowned chef-instructors. For one hour, attendees can watch, learn and taste! Seasonal flavors, dishes paired with wines, and different recipes every weekend make this activity one that a local can return to again and again. Sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. both days. Reservations are not accepted, so arrive a bit early to secure your ticket as these often sell out. This month the demos are focused upon CIA Cookbook Recipes: The Young Chef Recipes and Techniques for Kids Who Love to Cook. Two children under the age of 12 will be admitted with one fully-paid adult. CiaChef.edu
Yountville Annual Campout
Friday, August 26
Once per year the Yountville Community Park at the north end of town is transformed into a massive, festive campsite. Because this FREE event has grown in popularity, space is limited. So campers need to call 707-944-8712 in advance to register and reserve a camping spot. This is a super-fun, family-friendly evening. The movie “Inside Out” (PG) will be shown. Campers need to bring a tent, sleeping bags and warm clothes to camp out in Yountville under the stars. Pre-event set-up begins at 5 p.m., with departure on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. No pets or trailers are allowed. TownOfYountville.com
Throughout the year I will continue to search for “only in Napa Valley” opportunities in which to indulge, contribute, or become a part. Feel free to send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.