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Ripon still mulling farmers market

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POSTED July 21, 2009 2:59 a.m.

RIPON - Mayor Chuck Winn is hoping that farm fresh produce is something people will be able to get right in the heart of Downtown Ripon.

Tonight, Winn will update the City Council on the status of the possible addition of a farmer’s market to the community’s annual calendar. It will bring back a tradition designed to bring people into the heart of Ripon’s commercial core and reaffirm the community’s local spirit.

He proposed the concept during the council meeting earlier this month. Winn wanted some time to gather information about the feasibility of incorporating a weekly gathering before bringing it back to the council for what could be formal action to support the concept.

The city only has to look as far as Manteca to see that bringing back the farmer’s market is something that people will fully embrace.

After ending the weekly gathering at Library Park for several years, the Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau backed a movement that brought new life to the concept of bringing residents downtown once a week during the summer for a variety of local offerings that vary every week. They range from the farm fresh produce carried by local growers to the baked treats that have become a staple of the popular weekly installment.

Last week, local organizations geared toward offering programs for children were featured at the event – giving non-profits like the Boys and Girls Club the chance to mingle with parents who might be interested in getting their kids involved with the award-winning programs they offer.

Councilman Red Nutt said that the Chamber of Commerce has been looking into whether bringing a weekly event like Farmer’s Market to downtown would be a possibility to startup and make successful.

He also serves as the President of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

Ripon businessman and resident John Mangelos voiced his overwhelming support to the Farmer’s Market concept when the board last met. He believes that anything that brings people downtown on a regular basis would be good for the businesses that are trying to succeed in a tough economy.

“We need events like this intended to bring people downtown now – we don’t need them next year, we need them now,” Mangelos said. “To sit there and dissect it and discuss it – you lose the enthusiasm of the community. If you do it fast you’re going to make a few mistakes and all of the I’s aren’t going to be dotted and the T’s won’t be crossed.

“But you’ll be doing something that’s great for downtown. It may not be the perfect plan, but it will be a plan where you’ll be able to test ideas and see whether they’ll work as you build a stronger event.”

To contact Jason Campbell e-mail or call (209) 249-3544.

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