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Conducted 103 years after Manteca’s 1st fair

In just seven days, Manteca turns 100 years old as an incorporated city.

Given the centennial of May 28, 1918 fell on Memorial Day, the city teamed up with service clubs, non-profits, businesses, and the Manteca Chamber of Commerce to stage a birthday bash this past Saturday on the streets of downtown.

The low-key affair with an old-fashioned carnival would have pleased Mrs. D.O. Castle.

Castle — who was president of the Manteca Federation of Parents-Teachers — originated the idea for Manteca’s first ever community fair that was staged along what is today Yosemite Avenue in downtown Manteca on Oct. 8-9, 1915.

This past Saturday’s birthday bash was a celebration and a chance to show off the City of Manteca’s various services. The primary aim of the 1915 fair was to increase interest in the area schools. Organizers also hoped having an annual community fair would encourage a better grade of production in farm crops and livestock as well as increase community trade in the fledgling wide spot on the road known as Manteca.

The original fair drew 6,000 people over two days to the event at a time when Manteca proper had 370 residents. Saturday’s fair likely drew as many people over four hours judging by the free cake handed out. Today’s population, though, is slightly higher at 81,450 residents.

The 1916 community fair was conducted in Ripon with the 1917 version taking place in Escalon.

That first fair included livestock judging for dairy cattle, calves, colts, swine, and poultry. There was a stock parade followed by exhibition judging. It also featured an agricultural tent displaying 167 different varieties of fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the greater Manteca area.

The first day included a west wild performance with an evening reception that included a vaudeville act and music.

The second day was School and Domestic Science Day with judging held all morning. There was a junior baseball game in the morning and four senior baseball games in the afternoon. Manteca beat Calla 16 to 2, Ripon beat Lathrop 9 to 8, and Manteca overpowered Atlanta (a community that was located east of Manteca at Five Corners where Jack Tone Road and French Camp Road cross with Lone Tree Road intersecting). Manteca defeated Ripon to win the pennant in the day’s final game.

There was also a pie eating contest and a beautiful baby contest. There was a relay race featuring teams of six students from each of the area schools. There was also a polo potato contest on horseback in connection with the Wild West show that featured events such as bronc riding.

There were numerous baked goods on display, a sewing division, and a display of children’s school work.

Among the more unique displays among the animals were two alligators owned by Carl Konow, two barn owls owned by Wayne Van Slyke, Mr., O.D. Castle’s three-legged calf and a white gopher caught on a local ranch,

What was the motto of the 1915 Manteca Community Fair? “It costs nothing to enter and nothing to get out.”


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email