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Its easy to be nuts about Ripon
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The arch marking the entrance to downtown Ripon. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Ripon is a true valley town with a strong sense of Americana that at times seems of another era.

It is a place that is enchanting year round from the trademark scent of tens of thousands of almond trees bursting forth in hues of pink and white to gentle summer breezes rustling the leaves of stately sycamores creating a dense canopy over neighborhood streets.

Century-old houses and custom estate-style homes offer a variety of housing choices that has long allowed Ripon to buck the rule that the farther a Northern San Joaquin Valley town is from the Bay Area the lower the housing value.

It doesn’t take long to discover why people pay more to live in Ripon.

Thousands of acres of almond orchards buffer Ripon on three sides while the idyllic Stanislaus River creates Ripon’s northern border.

It is a place where families and a strong sense of community intertwine to create a common thread.

Walk into a restaurant, bank, or business along Main Street and you’ll be greeted like a long lost friend. You’ll find farmers, professionals, chief executive officers, and construction workers enjoying breakfast with their families after church in various restaurants.

Recreation opportunities range from meandering paths through woodlands along the Stanislaus River, the expansive Mistlin Sports Park with 120 acres, a state-of-the-art 26,000-square-foot indoor hockey facility, and two golf courses to a skate park that has been rated among the best in the country by skateboard magazines.

It is a town that attracts 10,000 people – nearly the city’s population – to turn out for the Almond Blossom Festival parade and celebration. You will find people lining the parade route a number of hours beforehand setting up chairs and such for mini-family reunions and gatherings of friends to continue a tradition that’s started nearly a half a century ago. The repertoire of community events also runs the gamut from traditional concerts and dances at the San Joaquin Valley Swiss Hall to an Orthodox Egyptian Festival.

You will find a reverence for seniors reflected in the tireless efforts of organizations such as the non-profit Bethany Homes that works to make sure seniors stay integrated and active in the community.

And if it is quality schools that concern you, Ripon won’t disappoint.

Ripon Unified consistently rates among the top school districts in the Northern San Joaquin Valley with individual campuses often topping the list for San Joaquin County in state testing. And if you seek a private education option, Ripon Christian School is recognized as one of the top Christian schools in California with test scores and college admission rates backing up that claim.

Both school systems offer classes through the 12th grade.

Even more impressive is that Ripon Christian School’s campuses as well as Ripon Union High and Ripon Elementary basically border each other and have a friendly rivalry.

The community also shows strong reverence for faith and those who have served their country. The community pulled together to create a veterans museum complete with a wall complete with names honoring those who have served America including those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Ripon also has a small but well-established stable of employers ranging from Cal Crush – that provides on-site recycling of everything from concrete to road base – to Golden Valley Nuts. They also have business park lots ready to develop for businesses looking for a central location to the growth in Northern San Joaquin Valley market that has 1.1 million consumers within a 20-mile radius.

Ripon, in a nutshell, offers a quality place to live, work, and play.