Calistoga has a presence at the top of the Napa Valley, but it’s not all about wine. Yes, it is pretty special that Chateau Montelena’s winning Chardonnay at the ’76 Judgment of Paris helped put Napa Valley on the map, but Calistoga has much more to offer. The volcanic ash mixed with geothermal hot springs creates a detoxifying mud utilized in various methods by several spa resorts in town. To detox and then re-tox is a balancing act easily performed by visitors who love to travel for wellness and wine. And then there’s Holiday Village and Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade.
One of the biggest turnouts for an annual event began modestly 21 years ago and is now the most crowded evening on Calistoga’s main street. The Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade does not involve wine or wellness, but tractors, floats and farm equipment decorated in holiday spirit, with falling “snow” and Santa included! On Saturday, Dec. 3, for one hour, 7-8 p.m., you can watch approximately 60 tractors/agricultural vehicles parade from Stevenson Street to Cedar Street off Lincoln Avenue. Each tractor brings its own entertainment, with groups of children waving to the crowds, as well as Santa, the Grinch and Frosty. Tractors, floats and farm equipment will be dressed up in holiday lights, and a few offer shows that may include bursts of hot-air balloon flames. Each year is a bit different, so each year is a surprise!
Make it a weekend event and book a hotel for Friday and Saturday nights to best indulge in Calistoga’s small town charm, beginning with Holiday Village. Many Lincoln Avenue shops will stay open until 8 p.m. and offer a glimpse of holiday décor and specials for holiday shoppers, plus an opportunity to get a picture with Santa himself in the lobby of Mount View Hotel. Heibel Ranch Vineyards, Huge Bear Wines and Tank Garage Winery join the fun, pairing their wines with gingerbread cookies from Bella Bakery, while passing carolers add to the magic of the holiday season.
On Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Calistoga Christmas Faire at the Napa County Fairgrounds will offer a day filled with holiday festivities, including breakfast with Santa, horse and carriage rides between Calistoga Farmers Market and Christmas Faire, as well as shopping for artisan-made or home-crafted gifts from various vendors on-site— all while taking in the sights, sounds (carolers) and scents of the season!
The festivities culminate with the much-anticipated 21st annual Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade that runs down Lincoln Avenue from 7-8 p.m. USA Today has nominated the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade for a 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Holiday Parades. Whether you’ve seen it before or plan to see the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade for the first time, you can cast your vote before, during or after the parade, and vote daily through Dec. 5 online: www.10be.st/2fuY8gw
Saturday, Dec. 3 is one of the busiest restaurant evenings in Calistoga, so be sure to reserve your dinner table at one of Calistoga’s restaurants before grabbing your place for the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade, which begins promptly at 7 p.m.