A new business committee aims to bring more events to downtown Ripon.
The organizational meeting for the Downtown Ripon Business Committee took place Thursday afternoon at the Corner Stop Eatery.
Longtime restaurant owner John Mangelos is heading up the group in an effort to create more activity on Main Street. It’s part of a strategy to try and draw community members to the heart of Ripon to shop and enjoy the restaurants.
Their first program being considered is an antique fair that will be held on May 31. They hope to draw antique vendors from throughout Northern California and the Bay Area. It is tentatively planned for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 31.
Mangelos said there will be no outside food vendors allowed on Main Street during the antique fair as that would take away from the downtown restaurants.
He said the committee is planning to advertise for the antique faire that will include dealers and crafters from all over the state. It is expected to draw hundreds of out-of-town visitors to Ripon.
Mangelos said merchants need to realize that such an event “is good for all of us,” especially if it draws bus loads of people from the Bay Area.
Committee member Janet Dyk, owner of Magpie Antiques, said that it should be okay for clothing stores and others to offer sidewalk sales during the event.
Mangelos added that all the merchants and vendors setting up on the street should be asked to park their vehicles in the former Nestles Coffee parking lot to provide more space for street parking and for the vendors.
Ripon Chamber of Commerce director Tamra Spade noted that her board is planning for entertainment in the downtown one night a week where people can take their food from one of the city’s restaurants to a roped off area with tables.
“We are creating our own Summer Night Out,” she quipped. “There will be a different theme each week throughout the summer.”
She said it will give people a chance to relax and socialize with their friends and family members. She referenced Pleasanton where the restaurants have offered outside seating and has become a social event.
Summer Night Out should include merchants extending their hours, she added, and possibly offering sidewalk sales as well.
Other members of the committee include Carla Bitters, Kendra Hofman, Danielle Pierce, Kendra Hofman, Helen Caetano and Carly Arends.