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June 1-2 is shaping up as biggest Manteca street fair ever
watermelon eating
Kids participating in a watermelon eating contest.

The upcoming Manteca Watermelon Street Fair on June 1-2 will be the biggest street fair ever in downtown Manteca.

All 280 vendor spaces have already been sold even though the Manteca Chamber of Commerce added dozens of spaces.

The additional spaces are in the southern half of the 100 block of North Main Street as well as more on Maple Avenue.

The northern half of the 100 block of North Main Street is where a car show will be staged.

Due to demand, the chamber has added a second booth selling watermelon slices. One will be near the Bedquarters parking lot at Main and Yosemite and the other at Library Park.

There will be free watermelon eating contests conducted throughout both days.

The  kids competition will be held at Library Park where the chamber is adding more free games this year. That is in addition to pony rides and kiddie carnival rides.

The adult watermelon eating competition will take place in the beer garden in Wilson Paek behind the post office.

The beer garden is adding watermelon margaritas this year.

Chamber Executive Director Joann Beattie noted this is the third consecutive sell-out year for vendor booths.

The two-day event that runs both days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. celebrates watermelons.

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San Joaquin County — specifically the fields around Manteca, Tracy, and Ripon — is the largest watermelon growing region in California.

 There are 2,170 acres planted in watermelon within the county in 2022.

In 2022, the Central Valley yielded almost 490 million pounds of watermelon. Of those, 196.4 million pounds were from San Joaquin County. That’s almost two-fifths of the crop.

San Joaquin County, on its own, topped the Imperial Valley at 23.9 million pounds and the Southern California region at 13.8 million pounds.

 Manteca-Ripon is home to the two most well-known purveyors of watermelons — Perry & Sons as well as Van Groningen & Sons that broker under the moniker Yosemite Fresh.

In 2022, California was the third largest state for watermelon production at 490 million pounds, behind it in the No. 4 spot was Texas at 366 million pounds followed by North Carolina at 255 million pounds.

The top producing state was Florida at 1.01 billion pounds. Coming in at No. 2 was Georgia at 693 million pounds.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email