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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

’Twas the Night Before Christmas

Napa’s 2017 Christmas Parade

Saturday, Nov. 25th, 5pm

2nd & 3rd Streets | Downtown Napa

Grand Marshal – Greg Cole and Beth Fairbairn,

Founders, Celadon & Cole’s Chop House

The theme of this year’s Christmas parade should get participants creative juices flowing. If that’s not enough, three cash awards of $500 each will be given to the parade judges’ choices in three categories: Best Use of Lights, Best Theme-Oriented, and Best Use of Music. Anyone can enter the parade, and it’s free to do so. “Although winners can come from anywhere, a lot of non-profits have benefited from these awards over the years,” said Steve Pierce, owner of the Executive Room Barber Shop and president of the Downtown Napa Association, the primary parade sponsor. Whether you choose to build an elaborate float, simply march along with your group, or just watch, the Napa Christmas parade is a hometown tradition that has grown over the years, especially since becoming an evening event in 2003. “Lights make the parade a lot more fun,” said Steve.

The parade begins on Second Street at School, east on Second to Brown, north to Third, and east back to School Street.

The Grand Marshals for the 2017 parade are Greg Cole and Beth Fairbairn, co-founders of Celadon and Cole’s Chop House. The husband and wife team opened Celadon in 1996. Cole’s industry peers opined that a restaurant would never succeed in sleepy downtown Napa, and told him that it was a mistake. The two took the plunge anyway, living off of Beth’s nurse’s salary while working long hours to get the new restaurant up and running. In 2000, Cole’s Chop House opened. Despite the early skepticism of some, both restaurants prospered with rave reviews.

Greg and Beth have always made giving back to the community a priority, and have generously supported numerous local causes including Napa Valley Education Foundation, Reach for the Stars, Napa County Hispanic Network, Napa Valley Museum, Napa Valley College Foundation, NEWS and COPE. Honoring them as Grand Marshals for their contributions to downtown Napa and the community is a natural.

For the second year, the parade is being presented by the team from Napa Printing, Design Studio & Mail Center. The company was founded by Bob Johnstone in 1981, who made giving to the community a cornerstone of the business. John Dunbar went to work there in 1997 and purchased the company in 2000, when Johnstone retired. “As a company Napa Printing is honored to support the community. We have a vested interest in continuing to try and keep Napa a great place to live as well as a great place in which to do business.” John thinks that Napa is a very unique area. “Doing business in the Napa Valley is a wonderful experience. We try and purchase in the Napa Valley and most companies that are here feel the same way. It is often feels more like a family relationship rather than a business one. We care about our clients and they care about us.”

For six years, the Kiwanis Club of Napa has been very involved with the parade. Their members handle the parade set-up, do all the judging for awards, and emcee the event. It’s a Herculean effort that they make look easy. Without them, there would be no parade.

This year’s parade will follow the same route as last – down Second from School, right on Brown, right again on Third and back to School. Judging will occur on Third, just west of Brown. Santa will be in the Big Chair in the breezeway of the Napa Riverfront Building on Main Street immediately after the parade. Everything is free. Parade applications can be found at or by calling 257-0322.

Other Christmas events include:

Holiday Trolley Rides

Fridays, Saturday & Sundays 3 to 6PM

December through Christmas Eve

Gather your friends and family and enjoy a FREE Holiday trolley ride in downtown Napa. Hop on or off at any of four stops. The Christmas-decorated trolley will be playing music of the season as it travels between four regular stops –at the Oxbow Public Market, Historic Napa Mill, First & School Streets near the Andaz Hotel, and at Main & Pearl Streets.

Napa Lighted Art Festival

Saturday, December 9 -17th 5-10pm daily.

Downtown buildings will be ablaze in art. Check out the DoNapa website for times and specifics.

Tuba Christmas

Saturday, December 16 at 2 - 4PM

Veteran’s Park

Tuba Christmas is a series of FREE concerts presented throughout the world and now downtown Napa is one of the locations. Traditional Christmas music is performed by over 50 tuba and euphonium players. A unique and wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

Thursdays, Dec. 7,14 & 21 - 4:30 to 7:30PM Napa River Inn at the Hatt Building

Bring your friends and family and enjoy FREE horse drawn carriage rides through downtown Napa. Carriages depart every fifteen minutes.

Visit for details

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