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New residents enjoy their Taste of Ripon
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Russell and Susan Beatty share some happy memories with Debby Kriletich on Main Street in the Ripon downtown event. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — It was definitely a Ripon Chamber of Commerce evening for two couples new to Ripon as they registered their delight with the “Taste of Ripon” wine stroll Thursday night coming out the front door of the Bank of Stockton.

Sharon Christie and her husband Greg along with Tina and Tony Spagnola voiced their enjoyment with the event saying this served as more proof their move to Ripon with their families was the right choice.

The young couples have their children in Ripon elementary and high schools noting they had checked them out for their accomplishments before moving into the community.

The 15th Annual Taste of Ripon had residents checking in a 5:30 in the shuttered Mar Val Market with the Ripon Unified School District Elementary Band serving as the entertainment.   After registering many of them wandered next store to the California Styling beauty salon where they were treated with their first selection of four different hors d’ oeuvres of their choice.

From there the more than 300 in the stroll ventured in all directions, some going across Wilma Avenue to Schemper’s ACE Hardware Store with their wine glasses in hand to sample more vintage wine and a different selection of finger food. By 6:30 p.m. the ACE hardware store had gone through nine cases of wine.  
Former Ripon Unified School District student board member Michele Ambrose acted as the hostess at the front door along with Cheryl Bunch.

The donation of $25 per wine glass served as the Ripon Chamber of Commerce fund raiser for the year with businesses staying open the length of Main Street and several side streets.

Outside Schemper’s Hardware the strollers had the option of taking a shuttle in the Ripon city bus with stops along the way and ending up at the Ripon Road House where most of the community members enjoyed more than just a taste of wine.

Schemper’s Cheryl Bunch said if last year was any indication their crowd of guests would be expected to return about 8:30 when the shuttle pulled back into the hardware store’s parking lot.

Road House owners Marcus Sheehan said he was overwhelmed by the turnout that walked through his front door.  He too had a festive offering of finger foods for his guests during the evening.

Bank of the West was open, as well as Bank of Stockton, for the annual stroll down Main Street.  The Old Towne Restaurant had set up a trailered grill parked in the street outside the Bank of Stockton’s front door  where they were cooking silver dollar-sized hamburger patties that were served in the bank with buns also heated on the grill.  

Meg Devlin and Jason Hern served as the cooks at the mobile grill preparing their special finger foods on site so that those going into the bank would have hot treats along with homemade soups to take the chill off of the night.

Other businesses participating included Baskin Robbins, Devine Décor, California Styling, Generations Spa and Salon, Tana Henderson’s dental office, Allen Hoek’s optometry office, Jake’s Coffee, Tea and Sandwich Shop, Marissa’s Closet, New China Restaurant, PMZ Real Estate, Re/Max Executive, The Ripon Record, Save Mart Supermarket (inside Schemper’s) Schaffer’s Tae Kwon Do, Studio 101 Hair and Skin Salon, and Tri Valley Lending.