Joe Brocchini just wanted a place where people could come and talk about the “good ol’ days” on Facebook.
A setting that’s free of attacks and politics and negativity where longtime residents and former residents could bond together over the collective memory of their favorite businesses and restaurants and the people that laid the framework for making Manteca what it is today.
And now with over 4,200 followers, he’s achieved his goal – turning the History of Manteca group into a veritable who’s who of the community who enjoy the updates and the free sharing of pictures and stories.
Now they’re taking it a step further.
On Saturday the group will host its first ever Park Fest gathering at the Woodward Park group picnic area from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – bringing together people, businesses and non-profit groups in a fun and festive atmosphere.
“Depending on how many people show up we might make this an annual thing,” Brocchini said. “It started out as a place where people could interact about the things that they recalled from the past – the El Rey, Oakwood – and that reminiscing is the thing that many of us enjoy to do. That’s what I like the most about it, and I hope that’s what a lot of people come out for on Saturday to be a part of.”
But managing a group of over 4,000 people, each with a different set of concerns and ideologies, hasn’t been an easy task.
While Brocchini stands steadfast by his “no politics and no personal attacks” rules that are posted for all who join the group, he has had to block over 300 people since the group was founded – some of whom made disparaging comments about the moderators, and others who made disparaging comments about people in the community.
It isn’t that he wants to have to run a tight ship, but with so many different people its best, he said, if people just leave everything to telling stories about what they enjoy about the common link that they all share – their love for Manteca.
“We get people sometimes that talk about how Manteca isn’t the way it used to be, and that’s true,” he said. “But that’s not the way that progress works. If everything stayed the same we wouldn’t have growth in this town and a lot of the things that we all enjoy now as residents.
“It’s good to look back at how things used to be, as long as people keep things positive.”
On top of group members, representatives from the Manteca Historical Society, the Manteca Mural Society, the East Union Memorial Cemetery, the Great Valley Bookfest, Gone But Not Forgotten and Cpl. Palmer Troop Support will also be on hand with booths. Food will be available for purchase from Fagundes Meats and Catering, Top Dogs Hot Dogs, and Sunnyvalley Smoked Meats.
For more information about the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.