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A special event for special people
Sunrise Kiwanis board member Kitty Walker helps put donated goods in some of the 1,700 lunch bags that will be distributed during today’s Pumpkin Fair Special Access day. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: 26th annual Sunrise Kiwanis Manteca Pumpkin Fair
• WHERE: Downtown Manteca
• WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 2, & Sunday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Over the years, Elaine Thompson has developed a rapport with vendors come Pumpkin Fair time.

She’s the Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis secretary in charge of “Special Access Day.”

In order to accommodate the developmentally disabled children and adults between the ages of 18 months to 80 years, Thompson and her group of volunteers spent several hours Thursday at the Manteca Senior Center preparing an estimated 1,750 lunch bags for today’s special event at the Dell’Osso Farm Corn Maze.

Expected are 1,200 to 1,600 from more than the 50 facilities in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Amador, Tuolumne, Merced and Calaveras counties.

Thompson is especially grateful for the donations from the vendors.

“Frito-Lay took us on as a special project,” she noted.
The snack company donated 1,700 bags of chips for the “Special Access Day” luncheon consisting of hot dogs with all the trimmings made possible by Carl’s Jr. Restaurant.

Thompson said that United Stationers in Sacramento also chipped in, donating 1,608 Oreo cookie snack packs.

She noted that Alhambra and St. Joseph Medical Center did their part by furnishing 1,000 bottled waters and 1,000 apple juice boxes, respectively.

The guests of “Special Access Day” are scheduled to arrive via bus - in some cases, the Sunrise Kiwanis will provide transportation, according to Thompson - by 10 a.m. to the Lathrop attraction featuring the corn maze.

They’ll have a chance to enjoy the various attractions at Dell’Osso. “Unfortunately, they’ll be no Pumpkin Blaster due to the poor crop,” said Thompson.

Still, those attending “Special Access Day” can look forward to the free lunch coupled with live entertainment.

Youngsters can expect to receive “Trick or Treat” bags filled with goodies.

Arvin Home Systems donated the plastic Halloween bags, Walmart furnished numerous bags of candies, J&J Printing made possible the scratch pads, Pentel of America provided the ink pens, the California Milk Advisory Board contributed the coloring books, and Golden Valley Federal Credit Union chipped in with the crayons.

Sunrise Kiwanis also thanked Cargill Food Distribution of Tracy, Storer Coachways, JR Simplot Co., Manteca Ambulance, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Lodi, Kiwanis Club of Stockton, and all of the volunteers for making possible the 24th year of “Special Access Day.”

“We have often been told that this is an event unlike any other for these children and adults,” said Thompson, who is in her 19th year as chairperson. “It is a day that all of us can enjoy.”