What is there to do in Manteca on a Friday night in December?
Turns out a lot, actually.
Like ice skating.
Hundreds of people showed up Friday night at Library Park for the Manteca Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas in the Park, the first time that the organization has offered something over multiple days to accent the always popular Holiday Parade which is now in its 44th year.
And it was the ability to go ice skating – sort of – that brought out droves of people into the December chill to enjoy the holiday festivity right in their own backyard without having to drive anywhere else.
“I think that it’s amazing that we have something like this here in Manteca,” said Lu Santos, who was watching her grandson Bo Cyr and granddaughter Rachel Cyr ice skate. “Normally you have to drive somewhere else to do something like this, but it’s right here at home and when I see the look of excitement on the kids faces when they got here – it’s just good family fun for everybody.”
According to Joann Beattie of the Chamber of Commerce, the event started with just a simple idea to offer something extra for the holiday season and quickly snowballed into what it became – a miniature Christmas festival.
The event continues at Library Park today from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We knew that we wanted to do a Christmas event this year and when the ideas started flowing it all seemed like such a great thing,” Beattie said. “This is truly a family event and people really seem to want to have family things to do here without having to travel and we’re thrilled with the turnout that we’ve had so far.”
The ice skating – which is being sponsored by the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department – isn’t actually ice but plastic planks that are laid down and coated with an oil that makes it behave exactly the same way as the frozen stuff does.
For Elizabeth Martino and her husband Michael – who were the first people in line to try out the skating rink – it was more than reason enough to come out into the chilly night air.
“We came because we thought it was something that the kids would enjoy and it’s been great – I knew when I heard about this that it was something that I was going to have to do,” Elizabeth Martino said – holding her 2-year-old son Jackson while 5-year-old Michael took in the sights. “We love to do things as a family and having something like this here in Manteca is great.”
Today there will be as many as 50 different craft vendors providing their wares to the public as well as more than half-a-dozen eateries to cater to the crowds. “Reindeer” rides are available for a fee for those who wish to participate, and a bar area for adults with Christmas and winter-themed beverages is also a part of the festivities.
Admission to the park is free, and the ice-skating is $5 which includes the rental fee for skates.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.