RIPON — Miss Almond Blossom Ashley Bloomhof’s singing of the Star Spangled Banner was as brilliant as the fireworks display that followed her rendition Wednesday night from Ripon High School’s Wes Stouffer football stadium.
Following a 5 p.m. parade of families and neighbors throughout the heart vthe community, the Ripon Elementary School campus was open for everyone to claim their places on the school’s turf where they put down their chairs and blankets.
A climbing wall and a jump house awaited children who were also drawn to a number of food and ice cream booths while parents chatted with friends.
The crowd that was drawn to the school was estimated to be in excess of 5,000 with even more families that watched from the Ripon Christian Schools campus closer to Highway 99 on Maple Avenue. At the Ripon Elementary Campus every square foot of lawn was covered by chairs, blankets and bodies.
Ripon Police closed the city’s Main Street from Acacia to Maple avenues as a precaution to keep pedestrians safe who had parked on the adjacent residential streets and walked to the campus. Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde joined with his officers talking to people in the crowd and directing traffic at the conclusion of the event.
With the fireworks displays visible for some two miles, many local families put chairs and benches in their front yards and watched the aerial displays from their homes while they lit their own safe and sane fireworks in the streets.
Motorists driving on Highway 99 had a bird’s eye view of the event their occasional honks.
Those watching the fireworks from the school yard were asked for a donation of $1 each when they entered the gates. Raffle tickets yielded a return of a $1,000 cash prize for one guest.
The cost of the fireworks came from donations from businesses and residents alike to the Ripon Chamber of Commerce. Red, white and blue rockets had been located around town showing Riponites the running total of donations that reached over $20,000.
Interim chamber of commerce director “Sam” Carhart said she is welcoming any additional donations now that would go toward next year’s aerial display.