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Paul’s Picks for March 2024

Napa Valley’s wet, slower “off” season continues through March, although if you look at our calendar there is more happening than in most areas in their busiest time of year. Here are some of my favorite things to do this month.

Lucky Penny Productions rehearses for The Sounds of Music, running for three weekends, March 8 through 30 at the Community Arts Center, 1758 Industrial Arts Way, Napa. | Submitted photo

Napa Valley’s wet, slower “off” season continues through March, although if you look at our calendar there is more happening than in most areas in their busiest time of year. Here are some of my favorite things to do this month.

The Napa Valley Mustard Celebration 

The Napa Valley Mustard Celebration continues through March. It showcases the wild mustard plants with their bright yellow flowers that bloom during the mild but damp winter in Napa Valley, 

Artist Jessel Miller helped resurrect the celebration after it languished a few years ago, and it has been embraced throughout the valley by all of the towns.

As part of the Mustard Celebration, many areas in the valley have picked one weekend to highlight events related to mustard. 

Yountville will have special events March 1 to 3 and St. Helena, March 8 to 10.

Learn more at www.napavalleymustardcelebration.com.

Music all month long

Napa Valley draws entertainers above its modest population. Maybe they like our wines? Among the top artists performing this month in the valley are jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan at the Blue Note on March 9,; beach soft rock Yachtley Crew at the Uptown Theatre on March 14,; country-ish singer Lyle Lovett at the Uptown Theatre on March 15 and 16 and Black Uhuru upstairs at JaM Cellars Ballroom of the Napa Valley Opera House on March 15. bluenotejazz.com/napa and uptowntheatrenapa.com

Women’s History Month at the CIA

March is Women’s History Month with many events highlighting the underappreciated impact of women in our history. The Culinary Institute of America honors women this month, for without innovative and forward-thinking women, the CIA likely would not even be here today. Nearly 70 years ago, two women founded the college, starting out with a humble storefront cooking school in New Haven, Conn. 

The CIA’s first class, back in 1946, had a lone woman in attendance, the second class, just four. But today, nearly 50 percent of its student body is women.

To celebrate, each week a CIA alumna will partner with Deborah Mullin (‘99), chef de cuisine at the CIA at Copia’s restaurant, The Grove, to create a fixed-price, four-course menu. Here is the lineup:

Saturday, March 2: Sue Zemanick ‘01 

Saturday, March 9: Jennifer Jasinski ‘89 

Sunday, March 17: Laura Ozyilmaz ‘14 

Saturday, March 23: Daniela Vergara ‘16

Saturday, March 30: Dara Yu ‘21 

Get more information and reserve at www.ciaatcopia.com/cia-alumni-guest-chef-series

The Grove at Copia, 500 First St., Napa

March 3: Napa Valley Marathon

The Napa Valley Marathon is one of the top marathons in the country and draws some elite runners, many drawn to the scenery and wine and food as well as the honors.

The 2024 Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon will be run on March 3. The marathon follows the Silverado Trail from Calistoga to Napa, passing beautiful scenery and wineries along the way. The Half Marathon begins at Conn Creek Winery on the Silverado Trail. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa 5K is a quick out and back. 

Register at napavalleymarathon.org/registration  

March 5: Academy Awards

The Academy Awards seem to be generating more attention this year than in many other years recently, and Napa Valley does its share of celebrating the Oscars.

San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle makes his annual appearance in Napa on Tuesday, March 5, at the Blue Note to discuss this year’s crop of Oscar contenders, his picks, pans and predictions. Get details and buy tickets at  www.bluenotenapa.com. Blue Note, 1030 Main St., Napa

The Cameo Cinema hosts a live stream of the 96th Academy Awards from Hollywood with a suitable party on Sunday, March 10. Cameo Cinema, 1340 Main St., St. Helena, www.cameocinema.com  

March 8-30: Sound of Music

Lucky Penny Productions presents an ambitious production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at its black box theater in Napa, but you can imagine our hills being alive with music as you watch it. The space may be small but  the troupe has done remarkable musical productions in the past, including Sweeney Todd, Big River and Chicago, crowd-pleasers that were also sold-out shows.  www.luckypennynapa.com

March 8-17: Grease

St. Helena Drama from St. Helena High School presents another popular musical, Grease at the St. Helena Performing Arts Center. www.sthelenadrama.com.  

March 16: American Canyon High School Arts and MusicFest

The second annual American Canyon High School Arts and MusicFest is 1 to 4 p.m. on March 16 at the school, located at 3000 Newell Drive. Enjoy paintings, photography, ceramics, music and drama, all created by talented students. This free event is produced in part by a grant from Napa Valley Presents and serves as a fundraiser for the high school visual and performing arts programs. Get information at www.amcanart.org.

March 16: Napa Stand Up

Napa Stand Up: Let Reproductive Freedom Ring is a festive afternoon of food, drinks, music and a silent auction at CIA Copia to support the work of Planned Parenthood Northern California. plannedparenthood.org. The event is 2 to 5 p.m. Individual tickets start at $150. For more information visit www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-northern-california/get-involved-locally/events/napa-stand-up.

CIA at Copia, 500 First St., Napa

March 16: A community effort to help prevent wildfires

The public is invited to the third annual Napa Fire Resource Fair on Saturday, March. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Napa Valley Expo, at 575 Third St., Napa. 

Discover ways to contribute to wildfire prevention and management, and talk with experts about topics like fire preparedness, creating defensible spaces and accessing county support if you have been affected by a wildfire.

The event is open to Napa County residents and admission is free. OHM Coffee will sell coffee in the morning and Tacos El Muchacho Alegre will provide tacos for purchase in the afternoon. 

March 23: Appellation St. Helena bASH

Many of the 16 appellations (AVAs) in Napa Valley hold festive tastings to celebrate their wines. Appellation St. Helena (ASH) elevates food, too, as is appropriate for the site of a Culinary Institute of America campus. ASH invites guests to its 13th annual bASH on Saturday, March 23 to judge pairings of food with St. Helena wines. Get more information and buy tickets at appellationsthelena.com

The Culinary Institute of America Greystone, 2555 Main St., St. Helena

Paul Franson is the editor of Napa Life, a weekly newsletter that covers food, wine, arts and entertainment in the valley. Learn more at napalife.com.

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