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Thursdays in Ripon: Dinner downtown & browse the market
Margie Hernandez and Dwight Jennings are all smiles while refilling the vegetable bins at the Fisher Farms booth. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: Ripon farmers market
• WHERE: Downtown Ripon on Main Street
• WHEN: Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m.

RIPON — It is becoming a standard Ripon routine: Dinner downtown on Thursday and then swing by the nearby farmers market to buy fresh produce, chat with friends, and enjoy live tunes.

Situated right in the heart of downtown Ripon, the farmers’ market  – which was initially thought of by local restaurateur John Mangelos – attracted those visiting the restaurants and shops in the area helped add to the traffic that flowed along Main Street and kept vendors from throughout the area constantly moving.

“I think that Ripon’s market has a lot of potential, but the heat we’ve had the last few weeks has kept people away,” said Modesto grower John Bava on Thursday as traffic picked up again. “Now that things have cooled off a little bit, we’ve got a good turnout and business has been steady. The people who are eating at the restaurants and stopping by on their way out to pick up fresh fruit really helps with the traffic.”

Near one booth Police Chief Richard Bull – who is retiring at the end of the month after 34 years on the job at various locations – chatted with chef John Mangelos who launched the market. He also visited with philanthropist and businessman Tony Mistlin.

Families pushing strollers and strolling through with their young children formed the bulk of those in attendance – though adults like Ripon Unified Superintendent Louise Nan took her time to browse the wide and colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables.

Dale Johnson – who operated the homemade kettle corn stand at the western end of the market – said the idea of bringing so many people together downtown is a great thing for the City of Ripon.

“This helps bring people downtown and helps unite the community,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community, and business for us has been good.

“We’re happy to be a part of this.”

The Ripon farmers’ market runs on Thursday evenings from 4 to 8 p.m.