The small-town feel of Ripon is no more apparent than with the advent of the Christmas season and the lighting of the festive trees at the Veterans’ Museum Park and at the Mistlin Fountain at the 99 Freeways Highway 99 recognizing the Hospice Foundation.
Nearly 200 Riponites are expected to gather at the lighting of the community Christmas tree which as become a partnered effort between the City of Ripon and the Ripon Chamber of Commerce. City workers have planted a new 25-foot-high redwood tree to be decorated next to the 100-foot tree decorated last year.
Cost of decorating the larger tree would cost some $3,000 while the city had the redwood tree growing in a box near the corporation yard south of town. The larger tree was decorated free of charge last year by a professional tree trimming service.
The lighting event will include Santa who is offering to have his picture taken with children coming to see him before and after the lighting event. Cocoa and cookies will also be the order of the evening along with a junior high school band playing traditional Christmas songs.
“I think we can introduce this tree as a new tradition and watch it grow two to three feet a year,” said Tamra Spade of the Ripon chamber office.
“It will grow with us,” she quipped. “I want people to be excited about it as much as last year’s 100-foot tree. I think five years from now it will be even more beautiful.”
Spade said she hopes to provide “family” ornaments for sale next year to place on the tree by individual family members. She foresees the cost per ornament being a nominal fee.
The Ripon business community is slated to compete in Ripon’s First Annual Christmas Winter Wonderland. It will be a Christmas Window Decorating Contest between the stores — hopefully bringing wintertime joy to the entire community.
And the “Taste of Ripon” will see revelers and carolers walking the streets through the shops and stores of Main Street and the entire business community just three days after the Christmas Tree lighting event. Riponites will be tasting wines and savoring a variety of finger foods as they spend time renewing old friendships on the route of hosting merchants.
At Bethany Home Society’s campus, Executive Director Andrew Lee tells of his plans to place Nativity Scenes throughout the buildings courtesy of the residents of Beth Haven Assisted Care. He said each of those 25 individuals have their own Nativities. Lee used every ounce of charisma to be able to take them out of their rooms for the enjoyment of the greater number of residents in the apartments and in the home.
Lee said there will also be a large tree of poinsettias in the entrance to the nursing home facility as has been the tradition in past years. Just across Main Street the Ripon Chamber of Commerce is planning to erect a tree of their own with the names of families and of children who could use an extra coat, toy or other wish that otherwise might go unnoticed. Spade is urging the general public and the churches help her put the names of those in need on the tree in their office.
She recalled seeing a Facebook post recently by a single mother asking for help for herself and for her baby. Spade said the response by the Ripon community was awesome. She hopes her giving tree in the chamber office will engender the same response of kindness to those in need.
Janet Dyk’s Magpie Antique Shop on First Street has an unbelievable collection representing Christmases past from the front door to throughout the shop where vendors have done their best to help create a unique yuletide experience.