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IT’LL BE A BIG SMASH
Pumpkin Fair rolls into Manteca
pumpkin fair
Kids play one of the free games in the Pumpkin Zone at Library Park during a previous Pumpkin Fair. You can also buy pumpkins at this weekend’s event. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Manteca’s Sunrise Kiwanis are on a roll. More precisely, they are on a pumpkin roll.

The service club is staging the 35th edition of the Manteca Pumpkin Fair in downtown Manteca on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The free event takes place in the triangle formed by Yosemite Avenue, Center Street, and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Pumpkin Fair is one of the oldest festivals in the Northern San Joaquin Valley with roots stretching back 53 years when it was started by the Manteca Pumpkin Growers who were a tad miffed the Half Moon Bay south of San Francisco had the audacity to stage a pumpkin festival and proclaim  themselves “The Pumpkin Capital of the World.”

While Manteca farmers would never back such an outlandish boast knowing Ohio is where the biggest concentration of pumpkins are grown in the United States, they easily can chain bragging rights for California given 8 out of every 10 commercially grown pumpkins in the Golden State come from the fields around Manteca.

So Manteca’s Pumpkin Growers put together a small, one-day event that consisted of stacking hay bales covered with pumpkins in Library Park in downtown Manteca. The entertainment was low key although a belly dancer secured by a friend of the farmers gave the fair a unique twist.

People Magazine caught wind of the playful tiff between the two communities plastering it on their front cover as their lead feature.

The Pumpkin Fair this year will is featuring more than 170 vendors. 

The heart of the Pumpkin Fair is still Library Park where there are free kids games such as a pumpkin pie eating contest, pumpkin rolling, and pumpkin seed spitting among others. Plus there is free face painting. 

There are two entertainment stages — the Community Stage and the Main Stage. Both have full entertainment line ups for each day of the fair. The Community Stage has been relocated to the Library Park gazebo where there is more shade.

The Main Stage is by Wilson Park where there is also a beer garden. On Saturday, Oct. 5, The Pumpkin Fair after Dark offers a free screening of the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas” that will take place in Wilson Park from 7 to 9 p.m. The snack bar and beer garden will be open until 8 p.m. that evening.

A pumpkin carving contest also takes place during the Pumpkin Fair after Dark. Bring your carved or decorated pumpkins at 6 p.m.to compete for $50 gift cards given to the most creative and most traditional entries.

 The main stage entertainment on Saturday includes Jeremy Norris from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Jim Anderson from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Cali Celtic from 3 to 4:30 p.m., and Gunpowder and Lace from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The Sunday lineup includes Dakota and Johnny from 11 a.m. until noon, Mario Flores from noon to 1:30 p.m., and the Mike Torres Band from 2 to 5 p.m.

Between the performers the Main Stage there will be pumpkin pie eating contests.

The Community Stage has been shifted to the shade and grass of the Library Park. 

The Saturday lineup is Charlize Price at 10 a.m., Jadyn Snaer at 10:30 a.m., Taberna’s Tae Kwon Do Academy at 11 a.m., Manteca Youth Focus at 11:30 a.m.,  a doggie parade at noon, Jenn Morrow at 12:30 p.m., Cortez Full Circle Martial Arts at 1 p.m.,  Manteca Police K-9 at 1:30 p.m.,  Blackout at 2 p.m.,  Runnin’ on Empty at 2:30 p.m., Ritecha at 3 p.m., Estoric at 3:30 p.m., Insomnia at 4 p.m., Break the Pradox at 4:30 p.m., Nebula at 5 p.m., and How it Ends at 5:30 p.m.

On stage for Sunday is Dreama Diaz at 10 a.m., Ground Zero at 10:30 a.m., Brenna Lay at 11 a.m., Pumpkin Growing Contest winners at 11:30 a.m., doggie parade noon, TBA at 12:30 p.m., Heartshine Foundation at 1 p.m., Manteca Police K-9 at 1:30 p.m., Blackout at 2 p.m., Tailsman at 2:30 p.m., Turbulence at 3 p.m., and TBA acts at 3:30, 4 and 4:30 p.m.

The car show is Sunday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the 100 block of North Main Street. The entry fee is $25. Information and entry forms can also be found on the website at mantecapumpkinfair.com

For more information go to mantecapumpkinfair.org



To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com