by Joanna Metheny / Photos courtesy of Joanna Metheny

Saturday October 7th marked the 27th annual joint Ripon and Menlo Park Police Car Show and Recruitment Fair. The event began as a way to bridge the gap between the public and public safety personnel, through family-friendly fun in a positive atmosphere. The show’s fundraising proceeds benefit a number of groups such as the Ripon Volunteers in Police, the Menlo Park Police Cadet Unit, and the California Highway Patrol Museum.

The weekend kicked off on Friday night with a cruise through town. Beginning at the Ripon Community Center and escorted by members of our police force, the show cars wound their way through town before ending up at the Sonic Drive Through for dinner, as per tradition.

The main events on Saturday were located at the Community Center. In addition to the car show, there was a public safety themed swap meet where shoppers could score anything from toy cars to old police cruiser lights. Also inside the Community Center, were a number of personal collections of public safety-related memorabilia. Differing regions and groups from all over the northern part of California were represented, from Cal Fire to Calaveras County, and were displaying items such as badges, pins, patches, and uniforms. Collection owners were on hand to share anecdotes and answer any questions about the memorabilia.

As a part of the fundraising efforts, show attendees were able to grab some lunch in the form of hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, and sodas, all served up out of a Ripon Police department truck, before heading on over to view the extensive car show and recruitment booths.

The entries for the emergency vehicle show filled up the greater part of the fields behind the community center, and included everything from the modern era to some from the early part of the 20th Century. Show classes included Best Restored Police Vehicle from 1900 – 1974, Best Police Motorcycle, and Best Ambulance, Medical, Military, or Professional Vehicle. Highlights included a World War II era Jeep, and a 1920s Paddy Wagon.

The show wrapped up at 2 p.m. on Saturday, when registered emergency vehicles left the Ripon Community Center to participate in a “Code 3” parade that wound through town and down along Main Street, before eventually circling back to the start. Drivers in the parade were private owners, public officers, family, and friends, and included at least one newly licensed local driver. This fun, and very loud, procession treated spectators to the varying range of tones and sounds emitted by different emergency vehicles, from fire engines and police cruisers to tow trucks and ambulances.

The Ripon – Menlo event provided a wonderful opportunity to meet our local police and fire departments, as well as the greater community of public safety agencies. In case you missed this year’s event, keep an eye open for the 28th annual show next October!

About the author: For nearly a decade, Joanna Metheny has been a freelance writer specialized in the coverage of local topics and community interest stories. A Central Valley transplant and Bay Area native, Joanna permanently relocated to Ripon and hasn’t looked back once. She loves the city’s proud agricultural history and small town feel. Joanna enjoys spending her time in the community, tending her garden, and discovering local secrets along Ripon’s backroads.




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