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Mayor, Miss Ripon light Christmas tree at Veterans Park
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The Ripon High School Band director Geoffrey Felver strikes up his students as they play in the center of Veterans Park in front of the museum. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin

RIPON — Ripon’s Christmas tree lighting at Veterans’ Park Thursday night drew a crowd that tripled the size of those in attendance last year with an opening of Christmas carol selections from Ripon Christian High School singing old yuletide favorites.
Families with children filled the museum campus at Locust Avenue and First Street in downtown Ripon to its capacity as Santa made his entrance sitting down at the statues of life-sized soldiers and sailors in the middle of the lawn having pictures taken by their parents with cell phones.
Chamber of Commerce President Tamra Spade served as mistress of ceremonies announcing the presentation by the Ripon High School band under the direction of Geoffrey Felver and the following schedule of events.
Cookies, hot chocolate and coffee were served to the audience during the event and afterwards.  Gallons of hot chocolate were made by Ripon volunteer Helen Caetano and served mostly to the children in the park.
Six Ripon Police officers with full beards including Chief Ed Ormonde were on hand at the event greeting the people in the unexpected large crowd.  The officers were allowed to grow beards during the month of November and must shave them off today.  The purpose was to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Association, according to Sgt. Steve Meece. Several members of the city council and school board were also present in the crowd.
The Christmas tree highlight of the evening came when Mayor Dean Uecker and Miss Ripon along with Chamber President Tamra Spade shared the duty of flipping the light switch that brought the colored lights to life to the cheers of the crowd.
The Ripon High School chorus ended the night with an additional medley of Christmas carols as the audience wandered off into the night with some enjoying more of the hot chocolate and cookies offered at the refreshment table manned by members of the chamber business office including Rose Murphy and Lindsey Shields.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email