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Nearly 100 volunteers help make street fair a reality

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Nearly 100 volunteers help make street fair a reality

Rex Osborn goes over some of the details with Manteca Police Explorers who are volunteering to help with the street fair this year during a meeting Friday at the McFall Room at the Manteca Library.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED April 4, 2009 6:12 a.m.
By this afternoon tens of thousands of people will be flooding Yosemite Avenue browsing everything from homemade crafts to unique trinkets.

And the only reason they’ll be doing so is because of a dedicated group of volunteers that spends hundreds of hours organizing what has become Manteca’s biggest weekend for visitors  in its 13 year history.

According to Manteca Police Department Public Information Officer Rex Osborn, the volunteer base for the Crossroads of California Street Fair has been one of the major reasons that the two-day fair has become such a popular destination for Northern California residents since its inception to help draw people into Downtown Manteca.

With more than a decade of experience under their belt, getting all 400-plus vendors in place isn’t nearly the challenge that it was when they were first starting out.

“We’ve got a team of probably 75 to 100 people that give their time to make this event what it is,” Osborn said. “There is a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes, and that’s really what makes for a successful event.”

By Friday afternoon, City of Manteca Public Works crews had already began placing roadblocks along city sidewalks to prepare for the closure that will allow for Yosemite Avenue to become the major thoroughfare for the masses that are expected to reach somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 people over the two day period.

While most residents will be spending Friday night inside of the comfy confines of their homes, the teams of volunteers will be marking off vendor booths and preparing for the trailers full of goodies that started up at around 3 a.m. this morning – kicking a well thought out plan into action that makes organizing the 400-plus vendors almost seamless.

“What really makes this special is that you’ve got all of these groups that are willing to give up their own time to make this possible,” CVB President and Manteca City Councilman Steve DeBrum said. “You’ve got people showing up at 3:30 a.m., and it takes a dedicated group to be willing to put in that kind of time to make this all possible.

“Unless you had all of these bodies, you’d be spending a lot of money getting these things done, and I thank each and every one of the people who are willing to come out and make this possible.”

And just because the fair is set up doesn’t mean that the volunteering is over.

The combination of Manteca Police Department Reserve Officers and Manteca Police Explorers maintain around-the-clock security to make sure that nobody ventures into the area to try to pilfer from the vendors. They also use the time to practice training in certain scenarios.

To date, Osborn said, nothing has ever been stolen during the nighttime hours.

And in the 13 year history of the Crossroads Street Fair, Osborn said that save for a few minor scuffles and some parking problems, there have been no major incidents – partially due to the presence of reserve police officers who volunteer their own time to keep the peace among the large crowds.

But if you’re headed out to browse the booths, Osborn warns, your best bet is to make sure to find a suitable and legal parking spot and to maintain patience while searching the area for somewhere to park the car.

“We want people to realize that all of the city parking lots are open – there is one behind German Glas Werks, one behind Accent Carpet, one behind Kelley Brothers  – where people can park and walk into the festival.

“Just exercise a little bit of patience and have fun and you’re sure to have a good day.”
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