The 53rd annual Ripon Almond Blossom Festival continues Saturday and Sunday, with highlights including Saturday’s fun runs, diaper derby and parade.
This year’s festival and parade honor the Ripon grape growers industry with the theme, “I Heard It Through the Ripon Grapevine.” The 1 p.m. parade includes floats, decorated vehicles, bands, dance groups, equestrian entries, color guards, car clubs and more.
The parade will begin on East Main Street just east of Stockton Avenue, follow Main west to Vera Avenue, head south on Vera to Fourth Street and head east on Fourth. Judging will be at Fourth and Elm streets, then the entrants will disperse.
The parade staging areas – one around Main Street at South Industrial Avenue, the other around the intersection of North Walnut and North Stockton avenues – will be closed to through traffic starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, to allow the safe gathering of parade entrants, the Ripon Police Department said. The parade route will be closed at 11:45 a.m.
This year, the Police Department will keep three major traffic intersections open longer than usual before the parade to allow for better traffic flow in the area. The intersections of Acacia Avenue at West Main Street and South Acacia at Fourth Street will remain open for northbound and southbound traffic until a few minutes before the parade starts. The intersection of Second Street at Vera Avenue will remain open for eastbound and westbound traffic until the parade begins. The Police Department posted a map at www.bit.ly/1MGfKAz.
Fun runs – a 1-miler at 8:30 a.m., an 8K at 9 a.m. – are being held at Mavis Stouffer Park, 1000 Stouffer St. Entry fee for age 11 and older is $25 for one race, $40 for both. For age 10 and younger, it’s $15 for one race, $20 for both.
The diaper derby is at 10 a.m. at Ripon High School, 301 N. Acacia Ave. There’s a $5 entry fee and contestants must be 12 months or younger, and crawling only. The carnival and other elements of the festival are at Mistlin Sports Park. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Carnival hours are noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
For more on the Almond Blossom Festival, go to www.visitstockton.org/events/ripons-53rd-almond-blossom-festival or www.facebook.com/almondblossomfestival.