Downtown Ripon will be filled with sightseers Friday during Dickens of a Christmas weekend.

   People won’t be peering inside windows, however, as their attention will be focused on the street.

   Ripon will host its first holiday parade Friday at 6:30 p.m. on Watson Street. The event replaces the Fezziwig’s Festival, which took place the past three years.

   Ripon Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Mansmith noted the idea for the parade came about in a few different ways, which included the Dickens committee believing the Fezziwig’s Festival had run its course.

   “We’ve heard several contacts from the community ... that say, ‘You know what would be really neat for this would be if we could have a holiday parade to go along with it as well,’” Mansmith said. “We’ve had the Fezziwig’s Festival here the last few years, the Friday evening, and essentially that event was created when we switched Living Windows from Friday night to Saturday night … We think it’s gone through the course of time that everybody’s aware that it’s now on Saturday evening for Living Windows and that parade element kind of fits perfectly in there.”

   He added the interest in the parade, which will feature area floats, musical groups, local businesses and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, has been strong.

Read the full story in the Dec. 5, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.