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Got it in you to make best scarecrow in Manteca?
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• WHAT: Sunrise Kiwanis Manteca Pumpkin Fair
• WHEN: Saturday-Sunday Oct. 3-4
• WHERE: Downtown Manteca
• FOR INFO: Information on vendor booths, the scarecrow contest, and the car show are available by going to or by calling the hotline at 1-800-592-7419.

Think you’ve got the right stuff to make the best scarecrow in Manteca?

The Sunrise Kiwanis will give you a chance to find out as they are sponsoring the “Build a Scarecrow” contest to mark the 25th edition of the Manteca Pumpkin Fair.
The Pumpkin Fair takes place Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4, in downtown Manteca.

The contest is open to children ages 5 to 18 who attend school in Manteca. They are encouraging individual students, or classrooms to build a scarecrow.  Each of the scarecrows will be judged during the Pumpkin Fair, and then displayed throughout the weekend for visitors to see.  There will be prizes awarded to the contest winners.  The Kiwanis have also partnered with Dell’Osso farms to have the entries transported from the Pumpkin Fair to the Pumpkin Maze, to be displayed until Halloween.  The Kiwanis contest is independent from any contest offered through the Dell’Osso Farm Pumpkin Maze.

Scarecrows will be judged in the following 7 divisions: Students grades K – 5, students grades 6 – 8, students grades 9 – 12, classes grades K – 5, classes grades 6 – 8, classes grades 9 – 12, and after school programs grades 1- 6.

Judging will take place on Saturday, Oct. 3, in the Kids Zone, located in Library Park at 11 a.m.

The event draws more than 30,000 people to downtown Manteca to enjoy everything from a street fair, musical entertainment, fun run, and food to pumpkin contests.

The silver anniversary is being marked with the return of the carnival that is taking place on vacant land near the Airport Way and Highway 120 Bypass.

The event actually was started 40 years ago as a low-key affair by Manteca pumpkin growers who were a bit miffed that Half Moon Bay was declaring itself the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.” Such claims are always dubious but in Manteca’s case they had plenty of evidence to prove they were the undisputed Pumpkin Capital of California with 80 percent of the commercial Halloween pumpkin crop grown and shipped from the Manteca area.

The money raised for Manteca non-profits is impressive. The Manteca Pumpkin Fair has allowed the Sunrise Kiwanis to pump $511,267 into non-profit organizations since 1984. That doesn’t include what a number of local non-profits raise with their booths that sell everything from pumpkin pie to raffle tickets right alongside the commercial as well as art and craft vendors. The marquee charities benefitting from the Pumpkin Fair this year are the Raymus House/HOPE Family Shelter, Every 15 Minutes, and Manna Ministries.

A component of the fair that isn’t high profile but has a huge impact is the Special Access Day that allows mentally handicapped adults to enjoy carnival rides, dancing, food and other entertainment will also take place again this year. Special Access Day attracts over 1,000 participants from throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The Kiwanis are adding a “Dance with the Stars” contest, a pumpkin scavenger hunt, as well as offering a limited supply of 25th anniversary wine glasses and 25th anniversary T-shirts for sale. There also will be a pumpkin recipe contest.

The car show this year will feature 13 categories and has a $25 entry fee.

You can go to the website or call the hotline at 1-800-592-7419 for scarecrow contest entry forms, vendor booth information or car show applications.