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Fireworks sales help fund Ripon non-profits
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The Phantom Fireworks booth at Main Street Plaza is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Ripon Future Farmers of America.

“We use the proceeds to help our students attend leadership events and conferences,” said Celeste Morino, who teaches Agricultural Biology, Agricultural Environmental Horticulture and Environmental Science at Ripon High.

She’s the advisor for FFA. During this time of year – at least for the past decade – Morino spends this time of year coordinating the fireworks booth.

Sales from the fireworks will allow youngsters who may have trouble footing the bill to attend the FFA National Convention in Louisville, the state convention in Fresno or the various leadership conferences held during the year.

Morino doesn’t worry too much about getting volunteers.

 “We have a tremendous parent-support group,” she said.

Included was Raquel Duncan and Jolyn Flory. “I was here all day (on Monday),” said Flory, who is the mother of Megan.

Duncan’s daughter is McKenna.

They saw only a few folks trickle late Tuesday afternoon as temperature sizzled to triple digits. From across the parking lot just a stone throw away from Schemper’s Ace Hardware was Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream featuring scoop night – $1.50 per scoop on a child’s cone and $2 for regular one scoop.

“We were there earlier (to cool down),” Duncan said.

Ripon FFA is one of handful of non-profits in town that are allowed each year to operate a fireworks booth.

Across town at the SaveMart shopping center is another Phantom Fireworks booth operated by the Veteran of Foreign War Post 1051 along with its auxiliary groups.

Ladies Auxiliary members Carla Moffatt and Lisa Mattison, Craig Moffatt of the Men’s Auxiliary, and Dean Uecker of VFW braved the sweltering hot weather that day to help out, relying on an ice chest filled with water and tea coupled with a fan powered by an electric generator.

They do it knowing that this cause will help them send packages to the troops and support the VA Hospital in Livermore.

Phantom is among the premier fireworks vendors not to mention one of the fastest growing for the Fourth of July events with over 1,200 locations throughout the country. Products can be seen online by clicking on to

The nonprofit groups in Ripon reported good sales during the past two days. But they believe that hot conditions may have slowed things down during the daytime.

“We’re hoping business will pick up during the evening when it cools down,” said Mattison.

The fireworks booths in Ripon are scheduled to be in operation through Sunday.