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Three tree lightings next week launch Christmas season in Manteca, Ripon
Christmas lights
Carl Grubb starts decorating the outside of his Golf Road house for Christmas on Oct. 1 every year. - photo by NATALIE WINTERS/The Journal

The countdown to Christmas officially kicks off next week in Manteca and Ripon.

Ripon kicks off the holidays on Monday, Dec. 1, with the Hospice of San Joaquin’s annual Christmas Tree-Lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. It takes place at the Ripon Veteran’s Memorial Wall at the corner of First Street and South Locust Avenue.

The other Manteca tree-lighting Hospice of San Joaquin event will take place in Manteca on Thursday, Dec. 2, at Doctors Hospital at 5:30 p.m.

 Manteca starts the Yuletide season with the long running community tree lighting as well as entertainment and activities for families and kids at the Manteca Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., on Thursday, Dec. 2.

The tree lighting in front of the council chambers is at 6 p.m. It will feature music and entertainment. Attendees are invited to bring their own homemade ornaments to place on the tree.

The fun then moves to the civic center courtyard for entertainment and activities starting at 6:30 p.m.

The free event will feature arts and crafts, photos with Santa, old fashioned carnival games, music and entertainment, Christmas cards for soldiers, letters to Santa as well as cookies and hot chocolate.

The events are being staged the Manteca Recreation & Community Services Division as well as the Manteca Senior Center.


Taste of Ripon Dec. 2

The 26th annual Taste of Ripon downtown wine stroll will have over 20 businesses participating by offering up hors d'oeuvres and other snack foods to go along with the pairing of fine wines on Thursday, Dec 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. 

McManis Family Vineyards, a co-sponsor of a Taste of Ripon, will provide the commemorative wine glasses. Cost is $50 – log on to more information, call 209.599.7516 or log on to


Christmas Boutique, Dec. 4

Almond Blossom Mobile Home Park on Pestana Avenue is staging a Christmas Boutique on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

It also includes a bake sale and raffle prizes.  Lunch can be purchased as well as coffee and donuts in the morning. Lots of homemade Christmas gifts are for sale.


Christmas in the

Promenade Dec. 4-5

The Manteca Chamber of Commerce is staging its holiday fair dubbed “Christmas in the Promenade” on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley at Union Road and Atherton Drive.

The two-day affair includes food trucks, a Christmas tree decorating competition, kiddie rides including pony rides, children’s activities, entertainment, craft and gift vendors, as well as photos with Santa.



Handel's ‘Messiah’ Dec. 5

 Handel's "Messiah" will be presented by the Ripon Oratorio Society in Sunday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. in the Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, 517 Orange Ave., Ripon.  For more details call 209-996-0468.


Holiday Affair is  Dec. 8

Those buying a $75 ticket to Manteca’s biggest holiday party — the Soroptimists’ 42nd  annual Holiday Affair on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Bank of Stockton on North Main Street — will be getting more than an evening of light finger food and drinks for two, mingling with others, and a chance at a variety of prizes.

They also will be helping provide the gift of help — and in some cases life — for troubled teens.

It was 35 years ago that a cluster of teen suicides rocked the community. Four promising lives ended in a suicide pact.

The Soroptimists — a collection of business and professional women brought together by the drive to serve the community — stepped up. They made a significant donation to help Manteca Unified secure on-campus counselors from Valley Community Counseling Services.

Support of teen crisis counseling in Manteca schools has become the club’s marquee project. To date, they have contributed more than $360,000 to the effort. It has paid dividends in keeping teens from losing their lives when dark thoughts overwhelm them.

Tickets to the Holiday Affair that runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. are $75. Each ticket that admits the holder and one guest are available at Tipton’s Stationery and Gifts, 169 W. Yosemite Ave., (209-823-7644) or any Soroptimist member.


Christmas parade Dec. 11

The event that has been the highlight of community-based Christmas celebrations for 49 years in Manteca — the downtown twilight parade — is taking place Saturday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m.

Entries are being sought for the parade that will travel down Yosemite Avenue from Library Park to Manteca High. This year’s theme is “All I Want for Christmas”.

The deadline to enter the parade is Dec. 1. There is a $50 entry fee for the event that has first place trophies and ribbons for second and third.

There are seven categories that each has a number of sub-categories. The categories are floats, musical units, twirling, visual marching, automobiles, novelties/miscellaneous, and equestrian.

The entry form can be downloaded from the chamber’s website at


Voice for the King concert, Dec. 11

On Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., at Zion United Reformed Church, 1220 Canal Blvd., Ripon, Voices for the King will present their 11th Christmas Concert. 

The 19-voice male chorus will present a variety of Christmas-themed music. The audience will also participate in singing Christmas carols.  A free-will offering will be received, of which the net proceeds will be given to Stockton Gospel Rescue Mission.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email