If you want to experience real small town charm and friendliness, don’t miss the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade next year! Friends mentioned it to us a few years ago and we thought of going but forgot about it…until I saw it advertised this year and wrote myself a note not to miss it. I’m so glad I did!
We drove over from Santa Rosa around 4 p.m. to look for parking, since we had been warned ahead of time that this is a very popular parade! We got a spot just two blocks from the main street, and headed off to beat the crowd at Puerto Vallarta Mexican restaurant on Lincoln Street around 5 p.m.. As we enjoyed some great Taco Salads, the line outside the door grew until we couldn’t see the end! Score one for going really early!
Walking along Lincoln Street, it was such fun to hear the children squealing as some of the businesses turned on snow machines to shower them with snow…honestly, it was the best thing this side of Tahoe! Really beautiful in the evening as the street lights came on…
Lincoln Street was lined with literally thousands of people, many of whom had set up chairs hours before which no one seemed to bother. As they poured out of restaurants and stores to settle in, the anticipation began to build. Since we didn’t think to bring chairs we continued to shop for a while.
I loved the shop called Maxine’s and got some cute things there! Talking to Kellie Lind, the owner, was great fun. When I said we had to hurry since our husbands were waiting outside she quipped, “What! Don’t you know shopping with your husband is like hunting with a game warden!” Is that great or what!
But this tractor was my favorite! It lifted up, dropped down,and turned around that huge scoop, all the while, well, lit up like a Christmas tree…it was awesome to me and the kids in the crowd went crazy!
I wondered all night how the parents were explaining the fact that we saw at least 10 Santas on different tractors without a sleigh in sight! Including this guy who apparently traded his sleigh for a Jeep!
People we so friendly they offered us their chairs. Total strangers became friends for the night. As my three granddaughters get older I hope this can become a tradition for us. I haven’t felt this kind of magic since I was a kid!