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Tree lighting on Monday starts holiday celebrations
Joshua Williams of San Jose shows how he feels about Santa just before having his photo taken. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Get ready for Christmas, South County-style.

Starting things off are a flurry of four tree lighting ceremonies in Ripon, Manteca, and Lathrop.

Ripon leads the way on Monday at 7 p.m. with the Christmas tree lighting at the Mistlin Fountain at Oak Street and East Main Street. There will be free homemade cookies and hot chocolate provided by the Barnwood Restaurant and catering. The event will include Christmas music.

Then on Wednesday at 6 p.m. the Hospice of San Joaquin Christmas lighting ceremonies start at Doctors Hospital of Manteca on the corner of North Street and Cottage Avenue.  Donations for the symbolic lights honoring and memorializing loved ones run from $5 to $250.  The star at the top of the tree represents a $250 gift. Online donations may be made through the Hospice website at The events line is 922-0242.

Manteca’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in front of the Manteca Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

The Manteca Senior Center, the Senior Center Advisory Committee, and the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department are hosting the event where citizens are encouraged to bring homemade or purchased ornaments to hang on the tree after the tree lighting ceremony.

A sing-along and variety of entertainment is on tap at the senior center, 295 Cherry Lane, after the tree lighting. Santa is also going to be there with a gift for every child attending along with hot chocolate and cookies.

There is no charge to take part in the festivities.

For more information call 456-8650.

Lathrop’s Christmas tree lighting also takes place on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.  It is scheduled for in front of the Lathrop Community Center, 15557 Fifth St.

Parades in Manteca, Lathrop
Get ready for some Jingle Bell Rock, Manteca-style.

Jingle Bell Rock is the theme of the 27th annual Manteca Chamber of Commerce twilight holiday parade being staged Saturday, Dec. 5, starting at 5 p.m.

The parade marshal this year will be the South San Joaquin Irrigation District in recognition of the agency’s century of servcie to Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon.

The parade typically attracts 7,000 plus spectators along Yosemite Avenue between Library Park and Garfield Avenue by Manteca High.

You can obtain more information by calling 812-6121.

The City of Lathrop’s Festival of Lights Holiday Parade with the theme of “Lighting the Way with Hope” takes place on Saturday, Dec. 12.

The parade will start at 5 p.m. at J and Fifth streets, traveling south on Fifth to Mingo Lane.

For more information, call (209) 941-7370.

Pancakes, eggs & choir concerts
• BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: Manteca Presbyterian Church’s annual Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus is on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 8 to 11 a.m.  at the church at North Street and North Main Street. Tickets are on sale at the door and are $5 for adults, $3 for children 6 and above, under 6 are free.

Photos can be taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Craft items are also available for sale.

• OMELET EGGSTRAVAGANZA: St. Vincent De Paul Society presents the Christmas Omelet Eggstravaganza, Sunday, Dec. 6, from 8 a.m. to noon at St. Anthony’s gymnasium. Tickets are $7 for adults, children 10 & under, $3.

During the past 12 months they have helped with food and clothing for 7,664 families, 15,513 adults and 14,529 children. For tickets call Terry Brown at 824-8144, Al DeGroot at 825-2800, or tickets can be purchased at the door.

• HANDEL’S MESSIAH PERFORMANCE: The Ripon Oratorio Society will be celebrating the Christmas season with the 64th presentation of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. at the Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, 4th & Orange Streets in Ripon.

Child care will be available during the performance on Dec. 6. An offering will be taken.

• COMMUNITY CHOIR CONCERT: The Manteca Community Choir is staging a Christmas Cantanta at the Manteca Presbyterian Church on North and Main.  

The  “Christmas Fantasia” will be performed on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. and is free to the public.  Contact Anne Talcott at 823-0054 for more information.

• SONDANCE BALLET: SONdance is once again preparing for its annual presentation of “A Christmas to Remember.”

The joyful celebration of timeless traditions, Christmas Carols and music of the season beautifully portrayed through the art of dance takes place at the Place of Refuge, 486 Button Ave., on Friday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 12, at 1 p.m.

This year SONdance will be partnering with Manna Ministries, to collect food for needy families throughout the Manteca area. Each guest is asked to bring dry or can food items to the performances which will then be picked up and distributed by Manna Ministries.

Tickets are $7 in advance or $8 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at SONdance, 612 Commerce Court Manteca, or visit their Website at and click on performances.

For additional information call 209-823-1740.