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From parades & breakfasts to gift drives for needy kids
The 74th annual presentation of Handel’s “The Messiah” is Sunday at 3 p.m. at Ripon’s Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, 517 Orange Ave. - photo by Bulletin file photo

The Christmas blitz starts Sunday.

The South County will have tree lightings, parades, street fair style events, open houses and more during the first week of December that is traditionally the busiest for organized events to mark the Christmas season.

Appropriately it starts out with the longest running — and arguably richest holiday tradition in the Manteca-Ripon-Lathrop area — the 74th annual presentation of Handel’s “Messiah”.

More than 90 singers from throughout the region have been rehearsing for Handel’s classic oratorio  written about the “birth, suffering, death, and the glorious resurrection of the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.”

It is being presented by the Ripon Oratorio Society on Sunday, Dec. 1, on Sunday, Dec 1, in the Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, 517 Orange Ave, and Ripon. 

Musicians include Joe Rykert, Kelsi Schuller, Larry Dorman, and Elaine Brooks.  Glenn De Jong will be at the organ and Barbara Viss at the piano. The trumpeter  is Robert Stone while Bob De Ruiter is the conducted.

A free will offering will be taken. A light luncheon will follow the presentation.

Monday, Dec. 2

uRIPON TREE LIGHTING: The City of Ripon and the Hospice of San Joaquin are conducting the annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Monday, Dec. 2, beginning at 6 p.m.

The tree located at the Veterans Memorial Wall, 311 First St., will brighten up with symbolic Christmas lights and, at the same time, allow residents to hang their favorite ornaments.

For the Hospice of San Joaquin, this lighting event offers those in the community a chance to recognize people who have impacted their lives via a memorial or honorary light dedication.

The tree lighting will also feature hot chocolate and cookies for those in attendance along with performances by the Ripon High Band and Choir.

Wednesday, Dec. 4

uMANTECA HOSPICE TREE LIGHTING: The Hospice of San Joaquin tree lighting ceremony will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. at Doctors Hospital of Manteca at North Street and Cottage Avenue.

Thursday, Dec. 5

uMANTECA TREE LIGHTING & CHRISTMAS AT THE CENTER: The City of Manteca tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m. in front of the Manteca Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St. There will be music and entertainment. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own homemade ornaments to hang on the tree.

Then at 6:30 p.m. the Christmas at the Center starts at the senior center, 295 Cherry Lane. The free event includes live local entertainment, Christmas arts and crafts for kids, Christmas cards for soldiers, free cookies and hot chocolate, cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, reindeer carnival games, story time, and free photos with Santa.

uTASTE OF RIPON: The Ripon Chamber of Commerce’s 24th  annual Taste of Ripon is sold out starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, is sold out. Twenty-seven businesses will once again enjoy extended business hours for Taste of Ripon, offering a variety of wines, foods and appetizers not to mention holiday shopping. 

The buyers of the 600 tickets will each receive a commemorative wine glass from McManis Family Vineyards along with a map of the local businesses involved. For those fortunate to score a ticket, check-in will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Ripon Memorial Library, 333 W. Main St. or the Silverado Building, 460s. Stockton Ave.


Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8

uMANTECA CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK: The Manteca Chamber of Commerce is looking for vendors for its Christmas in the Park event taking place Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 8, at Woodward Park. 

The new location for Christmas in the Park at Woodward Park will feature a snow play area, photos with Santa, carnival rides, food trucks, vendors, petting zoo, rock painting, children’s activities, a holiday cheer tent, Christmas tree decorating contest, and more. The Friday, Dec. 6, hours are 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Non-food vendor fees are $175 for a business booth/chamber member, $225 for a business booth/non-chamber member, $125 for homemade crafts/chamber member, $150 for homemade crafts/non-chamber member; $100 non-profit/chamber member, and $125 non-profit/non-chamber member. Food booths for chamber members are $300 and $350 for non-chamber members. The entry forms vendors can be downloaded from the chamber site at

Saturday, Dec. 7

uBREAKFAST WITH SANTA & MRS. CLAUS: The Manteca Presbyterian Church, North and Main streets, is hosting a pancake breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8 to 11 a.m. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 6 to 12 while those under 6 are free. Photos of Santa complete with a frame are $5.

uMANTECA CHRISTMAS PARADE: The Manteca Chamber of Commerce is looking for participants for its 47th annual holiday twilight parade on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. in downtown Manteca. This year’s parade theme is “A Candyland Christmas”.  The parade route is down Yosemite Avenue from Library Park to Garfield Avenue by Manteca High.


 Dec. 7-8

uSTUFF THE BUS FOR KIDS: Manteca parks & Recreation in connection with the Manteca Unified School District is conducting a gift drive for kids from struggling families with the Stuff the Buss event at the Manteca Walmart on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8, as well as Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Sunday, Dec. 8

uMANTECA MUSEUM OPEN HIOUSE: The Manteca Historical Society will hold their annual Christmas Open House on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the museum. Melinda Pacheco Patrick will be signing her new book “Images of America – Manteca”. Refreshments will be served, the gift shop will be open. All are welcome.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

uSOROPTIMIST HOLDIAY AFFAIR: The 40th annual Soroptimist International of Manteca Holiday Affair cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception takes place Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Manteca Bank of Stockton branch on North Main Street from 6 to 7 p.m. The $75 ticket provides admission for two people. Tickets asre available at Tipton’s Stationery and Gifts. 169 W. Yosemite Ave.(209-823-7644). You may also contact Connie Meintasis (209-823-5828) or Gayl Wilson (209-483-8187) or any other Soroptimist member.

Thursday, Dec. 12

uRIPON CHRISTMAS PARADE: The Ripon Chamber of Commerce Christmas Light Parade takes place on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. in downtown Ripon. The theme is “Peace on Earth”. Entry fees are $20 per single vehicle or $30 for two vehicles or more including horses. The deadline for entries is Dec. 9. Contact the chamber at 209.599.7519 or go to

Saturday, Dec. 14

uBREAKFAST WITH SANTA: The Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane, is hosting the annual event starting at 9 a.m. sharp.

Bring your children ages and 10 and under to the festive breakfast that includes the chance to make a craft, enjoy breakfast and visit with Santa. Only 125 children’s tickets are available on a  first-come, first-served basis. The $7 tickets are on sale at the senior center.

uLATHROP CHRISTMAS PARADE: The City of Lathrop Christmas parade takes place Saturday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. starting at Fifth and J streets. The theme is “The Music & Magic of Christmas”. For entry information contact the Lathrop Community Center at (209) 941-7370.