Yountville could have been Mayberry RFD over the past few days as the townsfolk and visitors joined in celebrating a more than 30-year tradition of fun, food entertainment and good friends getting together: Yountville Days.
The bucolic UpValley town, with a population of just 2,933, came together for the three days of festivities that started with a movie night Friday, continued with a chili cook-off Saturday and wound up Sunday with a hometown parade and festival in the park.
At Sunday's parade, Yountville residents came out in droves to watch the stream of fire trucks, Mexican folk dancers, bands, antique cars and other traditional participants.
Even the Napa Hoopers joined in, entertaining the crowds lining the streets with their Hula Hoop talents.
Five-year-old Nathan Coleman was more impressed with his first-ever cotton candy than with the parade entries.
“I like this stuff. It feels funny on my tongue,” he said, pulling pink puffs of the sticky treat and plucking them in his month. “But I want to see the horses and Army Jeeps too.”
Bruce Moors of Yountville settled in with a front row sit on the sidewalk across from Bouchon with his sons, Carson, Trent and Brodie, who used the time waiting for the parade to start by grabbing a quick nap.
“We live in Yountville. This is our third year coming to the parade,” he said. “I think it’s a great experience for the kids — family fun and being with our neighbors. It’s fun to have something the whole family can do and not cost anything.”
Charlotte and Bob Sawyer of Chicago are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary in Napa Valley.
“We’re staying in Yountville at a beautiful resort hotel. I’m just so impressed with the town, the valley and it’s people,” Charlotte said. “I am originally from a small town in the Midwest. This parade, the people and their attitudes reminds me of my hometown and when there would festivals like this.”
New Yorker Mike Johnson is also visiting Napa Valley.
“We’ve been here five days, wine tasted, ate fabulous food and seen beautiful sites. But this is the first time we got to do something that didn’t put a dent in my wallet. It’s great.”
The parade didn’t attract just people, it seemed as if the dogs on leashes almost outnumbered the humans. One brown and white Beagle sat beside his masters very well behaved until the horses trotted by, sending him into a barking frenzy.
Frances Blunt has lived in Yountville on and off for 47 years.
“I’ve been coming to this parade for about 30 years. It’s got a lot bigger and more people, but the atmosphere is the same. It’s a hometown thing,” she said. “We get to catch up on friendships and even make some new ones.”
Barbara Bulinsky has called Yountville home for 67 years.
“Yountville Days has been around for more than 30 years, and I’ve never missed a one of them,” she said proudly. “It’s great tradition and I intend to keep going as long as the good Lord lets me.”
After winding its way along Washington Street, the parade ended at Yountville Park, where more fun was awaiting with food, wine and beer booths, live entertainment, silent auction and plenty of good company.
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