It’s the people behind the scenes who make events like Main Street Day a success starting in the predawn hours not to speak of the planning that began for chamber of commerce staffers in July – three months earlier.
As one of the volunteers in the information booth I didn’t realize that Ripon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tamra Spade and her husband David were up and ready to go at 3 a.m. along with staffer Laura Spence. They got together at Acacia and Main streets a half hour later marking the vendor locations down the street – and would you believe – placing garbage cans.
We handed out maps of the vendors’ locations so people could more easily find the business or organization of their choice. The maps were well done and a product of Laurin Sephos who joined the chamber’s business office recently. She has shown her ability to take on any task including the art work on those maps – and do it all so well.
The rest of the organizational team included retired school district superintendent and past chamber president Leo Zuber, Ted Johnston, city public works director and Jeremiah North and his dad who set up the sound systems and stage. They all connected with the vendors again at Acacia and Main streets near Ripon Elementary School at 4:30 a.m. detailing their mapped locations down the center of the roadway.
There were 101 booths including informational sites presented by local organizations such as the chamber’s information booth that was first manned by Almond Blossom Queen Anna Fassler. Anna spent her day at the event never failing to greet people with a smile. The Ripon Fire Department had been hosting its annual pancake breakfast from 6:30 a.m. in the emptied bays of the fire department.
It was easy to see that everybody loved a pair of shiny, black Pertron horses pulling a farm wagon that offered rides to families and their small children. It was a gift to the day’s activities by Brad Lanting of Escalon. The wagon held some six to 10 people at a time and picked up their riders at the main downtown intersection of Main Street and Stockton Avenue. They took a route onto First Street to Acacia to Pine and onto the Frontage Road and then to Stockton Avenue and for a couple of miles at no charge to anyone.
Ripon Pastor Chuck Roots put together a Barbershop Quartet adding to the festivities that sang at the car show located at the east end of the festival. The singers included Dave Wallace, tenor; Steve Leipelt, baritone; Derrick Sturke, bass; and Roots who rounded out the group as their lead.
The crowd spilled into four downtown restaurants and bakery at lunch time giving the locals a chance to sit down and recall their memories of times past in the close-knit community of now some 15,000 people.
It was definitely a family affair for chamber staffers who kept an eye on the event in mobile golf carts. Tamra Spade brought daughter Cassie, 21, who also took a shift in the information booth and Kalie, 10, who relished the children’s activities.
Chamber staffer Laura Spense said the day was work but fun with her family and young daughter nearby. She obviously enjoyed just watching people browsing the booths. Her daughter Alyssa, 5, rode in the golf cart with mom for a time and had a lot of fun with her dad. She seemed to love the Zippy Pet Course and wanted to do the Hamster Balls and visit the Petting Zoo along with the Bounce House.
And for pre-planning, the chamber is already working on the preparations for the February Almond Blossom Festival.