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Harvest Festival going strong after 50 years

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Harvest Festival going strong after 50 years

Sharon Fontana browses through the used book booth at the 2010 Harvest Festival.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED September 4, 2013 12:20 a.m.

One of the area’s most enduring events held in the middle of the harvest season is taking place the weekend of Sept. 21 and 22.

It’s the annual St. Anthony’s Harvest festival hosted by the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca. It’s arguably the longest-running community extravaganza having been staged every year for more than 50 years at the same location – the grassy field on the northeast corner of the church property facing Sutter Street.

The family-oriented two days of fun, food and frolic for all age groups, has featured the usual attractions for years. The tried-and-true PG events are still around. These vintage events that grandparents and even great-grandparents remember playing as children include the Milk Can Toss and Grab a Duck.

This year, however, they are introducing some new games. Some of them are geared for the older children. There will be games not just for the children in grade school but even those in high school.

“We have new game booths. We did it because we wanted to have games that are more challenging for the older kids,” said Lois Wiedenhoeft who, along with husband Keith, is chairing the festival this year.

Among the new games will be an obstacle course, as well as football, soccer, basketball and pipe ball.

The number of game and food booths offered this year will be about the same as last year, Wiedenhoeft said.

“As for the food, we have a lot of the same except we’re going to have Nothing Bundt Cakes. They are little cakes that are very popular in the Bay Area. We’re going to be selling them. They are fresh-made and are kind of gourmet treats,” she said.

Offered during the two-day festival will be Nothing Bundt Cakes with flavors, as described by Wiedenhoeft, are in “a whole lot of yum” including chocolate-chocolate chip, lemon, and streusel pecan praline.

The usual line-up of “multi-cultural” food selections will be available as well for all festival goers to enjoy, Wiedenhoeft said. These include tacos, lumpia (eggrolls), and pizza in the Little Italy food booth, along with regular festival fares such as hot dogs, chili dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy for the kids. For the adults, the Beer Garden is also making a comeback.

The highlight of the festival, as usual, will be the live auction which will again include animals. The only difference, as has been the case in the last several years, is that instead of having the animals – mostly cows – present on the festival grounds, videos of them will be shown during the bidding. The live action will be he held as usual on the festival grounds Sunday afternoon. Held concurrently with the live auction will be a silent auction taking place in the gym.

Another big festival attraction is the show of local talents who will be featured on stage both days. “Again, this year, we have a full line-up of local entertainment including country, Mexican, and contemporary musicians,” Wiedenhoeft said.

The spiritual highlight of this annual festival is the traditional outdoor Sunday mass held at 10:45 a.m. next to the gym.

The two-day family fun is open to the public. Admission is free.

The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22, right after the Mass celebration.
Contact Rose Albano Risso at or at (209) 249-3536.

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