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Community tree lightings add sparkle to Christmas
Getting ready for Thursday’s City of Manteca tree lighting are, from left, Rosie Quinn, Bobbie Brickman, and Peggy Thompson Spears. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
A flurry of tree lightings will serve as the official start of the Christmas season in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop.

Ripon starts things off with tree lighting ceremonies Monday at 6:45 p.m. at the Mistlin Fountain Park kitty corner from the Barnwood Restaurant where Manley Avenue and Main Street meet.

Pastor Glen Shirk of the Ripon Grace Brethren Church will offer the seasons’ blessing. Sweet Harmony Chorus will sing three Christmas carols followed by  Miss Ripon Joie Darretta throwing the main switch to light up the tree.

The short spell in the chill is worth it not just for the community spirit but for the homemade cookies and hot chocolate courtesy of the Barnwood Restaurant.

The event is co-sponsored by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ripon.

Next up is the Hospice of San Joaquin’s annual “Hospice Tree of Lights” ceremony on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Cottage Avenue and North Street in Manteca.

Family and friends are invited to remember and honor loved ones by dedicating a light on the Doctors Hospital of Manteca Tree of Lights. To donate a light, call the Hospice of San Joaquin at 922-0242, or, visit Hospice of San Joaquin online at

Manteca tree lighting Thursday
Manteca’s official Christmas tree at the forint entrance to the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., will have its lights turned on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. by some lucky kid in the crowd.

Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford has made it a holiday tradition to pick a kid in attendance at the last minute to flip the switch.

People are encouraged to bring homemade or purchased ornaments to hang on the tree after the lighting ceremony.

The fun gets underway in earnest afterwards as everyone is invited to the nearby Senior Center at 295 Cherry Lane where there will be a community sing-along, and a variety of entertainment. Santa will also give each and every child attending a gift. The evening will conclude with cookies and hot chocolate.

The Manteca Senior Center, Senior Center Advisory Committee and Manteca Parks & Recreation Department are hosting the event.

There is no charge. For more information you can call the Manteca Senior Center at 456-8650.

Lathrop’s annual tree lighting event is at the Lathrop Community Center, 15557 Fifth St., on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Holiday songs and carols will be led by the Lathrop Elementary School Choir, the Lathrop High School Choir and the Lathrop Area Music Program. Refreshments will be served and Santa will visit the children. There is no charge.