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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

Shop . Sip & Stroll Downtown Napa

By Craig Smith


EVERY THURSDAY EVENING IN JUNE 5PM to 7PM


For the second year, the month of June means Shop, Sip and Stroll in Downtown Napa. Locals loved it last year, and attendance grew each week as it spread via word of mouth. “It’s really unique,” said Paul Kelaita, who missed the first one last June, but attended all the others with his wife. “It’s a chance to visit stores we’d never been in and taste wines we might have never tried.” He laughed and added, “I think downtown should do this every week.”

 

The concept is simple – for ten bucks, attendees get a glass and a wristband. From 5 to 7PM each of the four Thursdays in June, people can visit stores (usually a dozen or so each week) that have balloons displayed in front of them, and get a taste from whichever tasting room has paired with that store. Shop a bit, enjoy a splash, visit with friends and then walk to the next store, where you can do it all over again. Visit every place if you wish and drink wine at all of them – it’s all covered by the initial $10. There’s also outdoor music each week, a great opportunity to visit friends while enjoying mild Napa summer nights. “It seemed to be mostly locals,” said Kelaita. “We saw a number of neighbors there.”

 

“You never know how a new event will be received,” said Bill LaLiberte, executive director of the Downtown Napa Association, the group that organizes and operates the event, about last year’s Shop, Sip and Stroll. “By the third week, it was obvious that some people were coming every week. I knew then that it was a winner.”  

 

It’s a great event for families as well. “My husband and I took my mom and our daughter to the second one. Teal was just an infant, and we saw several other families with their newborns,” said Kelli Lampkin. “We ran into friends every week and got walk around with them. It was super unique, and for $10 was a really inexpensive night out.”

Downtown Napa is divided into four districts for this one, and each week, a different district is featured. Wristbands and glasses are sold at a central location, and maps of participating businesses are available. Guests can follow the map or just look for the balloons in front of businesses. Or, visit donapa.com and have the info on your pone. Go to the first store, then rinse and repeat at the next location.

 

Come before or after dinner, or plan to eat at a downtown restaurant. This is about as fun and relaxing as a summer night can be.

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