By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Tree lighting precursor to Taste of Ripon & concert
Director Bob DeRuiter leads the chorus during rehearsal for this Sunday’s 3 p.m. presentation of the “Messiah” by the Ripon Oratorio Society at the Immanuel Christian Church at Fourth and Orange streets in Ripon. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON – Keith Moore stood patiently alongside the gazebo at the Mistlin Fountain Monday night and waited for the Christmas tree lighting festivities to begin.

With his wife and kids by his side, Moore beamed as he scanned the crowd of mostly families that braved the cold to come together for what has been a tradition in Ripon for more than a quarter-century.

It’s one of the things that his family loves about Ripon, and they’ve soaked up as much of that small-town charm as they can in the six years since moving to the community – flourishing in the family-oriented town and spending as much time together at events like the tree lighting as they possibly can.

“We love things like this. Any time we get together as a family and get out of the house as a family, we’re happy,” Moore said. “These are the types of things that we enjoy about being here, taking in the small-town feel and having fun together.”

Barnwood Restaurant Owner John Mangelos was on hand distributing complimentary hot chocolate and macadamia nut cookies to all who showed up, and the gazebo area and adjacent park started to fill up half-an-hour before the actual ceremony began.

With families pushing strollers and ushering kids filtering into the park, local dignitaries like Mayor Chuck Winn, Councilman Garry Krebbs, former Ripon Superintendent Leo Zuber, and Fire Chief Dennis Bitters mingled among the crowd. Ripon’s chief philanthropist Tony Mistlin – who paid for the fountain where the tree lighting was held – was on hand talking to friends and associates, and members of the business community and the Chamber of Commerce greeted those who arrived as sponsors of the event.

In keeping with tradition, Miss Ripon Joie Darretta flipped the switch that lit up the grove of trees that had all been decorated for the Christmas season, and the women’s singing group Sweet Harmony – under the direction of Ginny Burroughs – entertained the crowd with several Christmas carols before the lighting of the tree.

One Ripon family that just recently moved to the neighborhood where the fountain is located decided to come out for the first time, and were more than impressed with the turnout and the event itself.

“We just moved across to this side of the freeway, we’re within walking distance, and thought that we’d come out as a family for the first time,” said Tim Schmie, who huddled close with his wife and daughter. “Community events like this are wonderful, and they’re one of the things that brought us here to Ripon. The small town community and everybody getting together – we just love it.”

Taste of Ripon set for Thursday
The 15th Annual “Taste of Ripon” sponsored by the members of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce takes place on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 6 to 9 p.m.

What started as a simple event with light refreshments offered at a few sites has now grown into a full-scale professional food and wine tasting event.  A commemorative glass provided by McManis Family Vineyards is included in the price of the ticket.

The Sweet Harmony Chorus, sponsored by the City of Ripon, will stroll up and down Main Street entertaining with their favorite Christmas carols.  The chorus consists of 15 women from all over the region.

The Chamber will provide two mini-buses to shuttle guests from one end of town to the other for the event.

Ticket price is $25 per person. Tickets are on sale now at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce office, 929 West Main Street. For more information please call (209) 599-7519.

Messiah tradition set for Sunday
A 65-year Ripon Christmas tradition - the Ripon Oratorio Society presentation of the “Messiah” - takes place Sunday at 3 p.m. at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church at Fourth and Orange streets. A freewill offering will follow.