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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

Downtown Napa - 12 Days of Christmas

Seems like every time you turn around, it’s Christmas. But that’s a really good thing. It means time with family and friends, good food and parties, and Santa Claus!

Old Saint Nick is setting up shop in the lobby of Archer hotel this year, as soon as he wraps up the Christmas parade, probably about 6:30 p.m. He’ll bring a staff of Elves who will pass out candy canes, and Archer will have plenty of hot chocolate on hand for everyone. All the little ones have to do is bring their wish list, and tell Santa what they want. And of course, it will all be free.

The holiday celebrations begin with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Veterans Park. Wednesday, November 27 at 6 p.m., Jill Techel will lead the community in lighting the tree. Boy scouts will be on-hand giving out free cookies, courtesy of Toni Chiapetta, owner of Sweetie Pies, who has been making and donating cookies for years. Hot chocolate will be provided by Downtown Joes, as they have since the tree lighting in Veterans Park began. Entertainment will come from local children’s groups, who will dance and sing before the Mayor leads the countdown to light the tree.

The Christmas parade is Saturday, November 30 at 5 p.m. The theme of this year’s parade is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” 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. “A lot of Napa non-profits have benefited from these awards over the years,” said Steve Pierce, owner of the Executive Room Barber Shop and past-president of the Downtown Napa Association, the primary parade sponsor. Anyone can enter the parade, and it’s free. 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.

The parade begins on Second Street at School, heads east on Second to Brown, then north to Third, and finally west back to School Street. Judging takes place on Third Street in front of the courthouse, across from the Second Street garage. All groups are recognized and introduced at the stage.

Grand Marshals this year are Napa’s Police Chief, Robert Plummer, and his wife Richene. The Plummers moved here from Las Vegas, and are heavily involved in community functions. Both fell in love with Napa and its people right away.

Napa Printing, Design Studio & Mail Center has also supported the parade for years. John Dunbar, who purchased the company in 2000, is deeply invested in Napa. “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.”

For the past eight years, the Kiwanis Club of Napa has been very involved with the parade; in fact, they practically own it. Their members handle the parade set-up, do all the judging for awards, and emcee the event. Without Kiwanis, there would be no parade.

And a special shout out goes to the staff and elected officials of the City of Napa. Most of what they do is largely unseen – planning to make sure the event is safe, road closures and overseeing closed intersections during the parade and clean up. For example, they staff twenty-three intersections that have to be closed for the parade – their job isn’t easy, and their work is appreciated.

Everything is free. Parade applications can be found at or by calling 257-0322.

Other Holiday Events Include:

FREE Holiday Trolley Rides

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

December 6-22 | 3-6 p.m.

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 Dwight Murray Plaza. Special thanks to Napa Valley Wine Trolley for making this happen.

FREE Tuba Christmas

Sunday, December 7 2-4 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church

1333 3rd St.

Start the holidays with a free concert that’s becoming a Napa tradition. This free Christmas concert features traditional standards and some new arrangements. “You may be thinking Oompah Band but the result of all these brass instruments is a sound much closer to a rich pipe organ,” says Conductor Alan Parks.

Visit for details!



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