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Dinner-dance kicks off St. Anthonys harvest festival
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For the first time in about half a century, a dinner-dance will be held to kick off the annual St. Anthony’s Harvest Festival.

The event, to be held in the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church gym, is set for Saturday, Aug. 28, with dinner to be served from 6 to 8 p.m. followed by dancing from 8 p.m. until midnight.

Tickets are $20 each for both dinner and dance, $10 for the dance only and for children aged 14 and under. There will be gift prizes for raffle drawings held during the evening as well, according to harvest festival committee member Joyce Risso. Tickets for the raffle are $1 apiece or a book of 12 tickets for $10.

The harvest festival itself, the parish’s only major fund-raiser during the year, will be held the weekend of Sept. 18-19 on the grounds next to the gym. It is arguably Manteca’s longest-running annual fund-raiser held by a single sponsor. Besides being a fund-raiser for the parish, the festival is also in thanksgiving for the year’s harvest and to celebrate the unity of God’s faithful.

In the past, dinner-dance events have been held in connection with the harvest festival. However, these took place on the Friday before the weekend celebration and became part of what then became a three-day weekend extravaganza.

Admission to the harvest festival is still free and is open to the public whether they are parishioners or not.

Festival guests can expect to see the usual entertainment and gastronomical fares. There will be a range of food booths featuring favorite Mexican, Portuguese, and Italian cuisines, among others. Staying true to its family-oriented appeal, there will be plenty of activities and attractions geared to the young set such as face painting. Entertainment numbers continuing both days of the festival will feature a host of local talents.

A live and silent auction will be among those attractions both days.

Two of the booths returning will feature a used-books sale as well as an arts and crafts sale featuring the skills and talents of parishioners and local residents. These two booths are still looking for more donations from the public.

The spiritual highlight of the harvest festival, as usual, will be the outdoor Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday at 10:45 a.m. concelebrated by all priests of the parish. As in the past, the multi-lingual liturgy will be held on the festival grounds with scriptures and prayers in the languages of the parish’s members as well as English. Ditto with the liturgy music with all of the church’s choirs singing together during the service.