New spin on downtown Dickens tradition

Last year's Dickens of a Christmas event.

Last year’s Dickens of a Christmas event.

By: Rachel Grutza

Ripon Chamber of Commerce has some major changes planned for this years Dickens of a Christmas. This is the 26th year that Dickens will take place in downtown Ripon, Wisconsin. And the chamber has some new and exciting events to celebrate. According to Laura Kegler at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, the living Windows will no longer be on Friday night but rather Saturday to allow people more time to view the displays. The Fezziwig Festival will include ice sculptures and a fruitcake toss tournament. Even Santa will make an appearance on his sleigh pulled by reindeer!

This year the downtown tradition will take place from Thursday to Sunday, with a chili supper kicking off the events on Thursday night. Dickens of a Christmas features events this year that will raise money for area organizations such as the Dress-a-Doll contest. This foundation raises money for area food pantries and donates dolls to the Ripon Santa Club to deliver to local children. The Holiday Craft Show on Saturday will feature gifts from area crafters with proceeds going to a local charity and the Grab-a-Gift Holiday Shopping Spree, which will have food, handmade Christmas gifts and raffles benefiting Alzheimer’s and Relay for Life. Ripon High School Key Club is once again hosting the Enchanted Forest where local organizations can decorate a Christmas tree, which are then voted on, and donations go to the RHS Key Club.

To help fund the popular event, Ripon Chamber of Commerce hosted the first annual Wine Walk on November 4th, where downtown businesses served a variety of wines in each business for attendees to sample, some also featured art from an area artist. Proceeds from the Wine Walk benefit the Dickens of a Christmas festival and beautification projects throughout downtown Ripon. For $20, participants received a wristband that allowed them ten 2 ounce samples of wine, a wine glass, and a map of participating businesses.

Dickens of a Christmas 2016 Schedule

Thursday, December 1st
Chili Supper: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Miller’s Tavern

Friday, December 2nd
Dress a Doll Contest: all day, BMO Harris Bank
Dickens of a Quilt Show: all day, Horicon Bank
Soup and Sandwich Supper: 3-7 p.m., American Legion Hall
Christmas Creche Display: 5-7 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church
Fezziwigs Festival: 5:30- 7:30 p.m., Downtown Ripon
Historical Society Open House: 5:30- 8:30 p.m.
Enchanted Forest: 5:30- 8:30 p.m., 123 Watson St.
Ripon College Orchestra Performance: 7:30 p.m., Demmer Recital Hall, CJ Rodman Center for the Arts
Gingerbread House Contest and Display: Friday until 8 p.m. and Saturday until 4 p.m., Farrell’s Fine Furnishings

Saturday, December 3rd
Breakfast with Santa: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Royal Ridges
Dress a Doll Contest: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., BMO Harris Bank
Dickens Holiday Fair: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Holiday Craft Show: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Maplecrest Manor
Dickens of a Quilt Show: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Horicon Bank
Artisan Marketplace: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Vines and Rushes Winery
Grab a Gift Holiday Shopping Spree: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Union Hall
2016 Tours of Homes: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Historical Society Open House: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., 508 Watson St.
Enchanted Forest: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., 123 Watson
Gingerbread House Contest and Display: Saturday until 4 p.m., Farrell’s Fine Furnishings
Live Reindeer: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 200 Block of Watson St.
Christmas Creche Display: 5-7 p.m. Grace Lutheran Church
Soup and Sandwich Supper: 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., St. Catherine of Siena
Living Windows: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Downtown Ripon

Sunday, December 4th
Quilts of Valor Presentation: 1 p.m., Horicon Bank
Ripon College Choral Union Concert: 3:15 p.m., Demmer Recital Hall