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Wall-to-wall people enjoy 21st event

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John and Eileen Mendosa and their daughter Renee served gourmet guests from the New China Restaurant booth at the annual Sampler event.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED March 12, 2013 12:33 a.m.

It was all about food and beverage tasting at its best.

The 21st annual Gourmet Sampler fundraiser for the Manteca Historical Society and Museum saw a line of some 25 waiting outside the Senior Center 20 minutes before the doors were opened for the crowd to enjoy the offerings of 24 vendors.

Within minutes of the 1 p.m. opening on Sunday the center was filled wall-to-wall with hungry guests quickly sampling the offerings of the day from area restaurants and other purveyors of food, wine, beer and coffees.

Ken Hafer, who opened a furniture store in the community some 50 years ago, welcomed the guests at the front door to the event taking their tickets. Hafer has been credited as the spark plug behind the Manteca Museum and has led those joining in his passion for housing memorabilia of the community’s early years.

A couple dozen museum docents made up a team that assisted the vendors in handing out their products to Mantecans from Chinese food to various ice cream samples. Many of brought their relatives along with them to help in setting up the Gourmet and tearing it down after the 4 p.m. closing.

Sue Kiernan-McMillan of Edible Arrangements walked through the crowd with silver trays of fresh fruits – strawberries, bananas and pineapple – covered with chocolate and white frosting presenting them as a little extra treat to what guests were already munching from their plates.

Manteca’s photography icon, Dale Johnson, has been a volunteer at the Sampler since its inception some 21 years ago. Johnson, who ran a popular studio in the community for many years, served Delicato wine samples to the adults walking up to his booth and wanting to chat. Johnson, with his wife Pat at his side, exchanged past memories with many of their friends and former clients.

Entering past the front lobby gourmet-goers found Vivian Sarina sitting behind the first booth in the Senior Center where she displayed a variety of her crafts that included handmade flowers and specialty purses with buttons along with a memorable blanket. Sarina is a 1959 graduate of Manteca High School. She donates all the money she makes from selling her crafts, back to the Manteca Museum.

Growing up in Manteca, Sarina’s dad, Floyd Bedsaul, had worked for the city water department. He walked the residential streets where he checked the meters buried in the sidewalks monthly and posted the water usage to be billed to the citizens.

Sarina’s mother worked as an operator for the Manteca Telephone Company that had long been located near the downtown city hall on Sycamore Avenue. Chuckling, she said her brother, aunt and cousin all had gone to work for Talbot Kendall’s phone company in her mom’s shadow.

The vendors included Taqueria La Estrella, Hong Kong Restaurant, Le Croissant Bakery, Chuck’s Place, Weber’s BBQ & More, Olive Oil Pantry, Angelano’s, Kitty’s Kitchen, Museum popcorn and ice cream, Guido’s Pizza, Delicato vineyards, Subway Sandwiches, Miner Mart Liquors, Rocky Mountain Chocolate, Billie Hill’s BBQ, Costco Wholesale, Rancho San Miguel Market, Chinese Express 4 Less, Isadore’s Restaurant, Edible Arrangements, Carneceria Rosita, Save Mart, Ernie’s Food & Spirits, and New China Restaurant.

On stage music was provided by the Park Avenue Jam Band under the direction of Richard Benavides.


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