The biggest Manteca street fair ever, in terms of secured vendor space, takes place today and Sunday within the downtown triangle created by Main Street, Center Street, and the railroad tracks.
The 24th annual edition of the Crossroads Street Fair takes place both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Main Street will be closed both days between Center Street and Moffat Boulevard. Both admission and parking are free.
There are a record 262 vendor spaces that were sold including around 100 for artisans and crafters. The 14-month gap since the last street fair — it takes place traditionally during the first full weekend in April — due to the pandemic has set the stage for this to be the largest ever in terms of vendors.
It will include a number of free watermelon contests and other low-key games for kids at Library Park. Nearby parents can pay for their kids to enjoy small-scale carnival rides plus pony rides in the gazebo.
The sponsorship of George Perry & Sons — the West Coast’s top melon brokerage firm — is making watermelon eating, watermelon rolling, and guess the weight of a watermelon contests possible. Some of the contests as prizes will have — you guessed it — watermelons.
There will be a boat and RV show on Maple Avenue both days. A car show will take place on Main Street Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There will be live bands both days along with a beer garden.
State required social distancing rules for large outdoor gatherings will be in effect. Those needed face masks can pick up free ones at the chamber’s info booth.
Many people make the street fair a two-day venture. Some will browse the first day and return the second for serious shopping. Most, however, who make it a multiple day adventure do so because they either wanted to go back and get something that caught their fancy the first day but couldn’t decide on whether to buy, to try a different food item that they simply ran out of stomach room for on their initial trip or to savor the atmosphere which allows you to leisurely stroll and strike up conversations with friends and neighbors.
Although it doesn’t officially open until 10 a.m., many vendors welcome people to browse — and even buy — before that time. Most arrived downtown between 3 and 6 a.m. this morning. It’s organized mayhem as they set up for the two-day event but usually by the time 8:30 a.m. rolls around many are either raring to go or are just putting finishing touches on their booths.
It is an excellent time to get a bit ahead of the crowd and scout out your plan of attack if you’re a dedicated street fair shopper.
Parking never seems to be a problem. Even at peak times throughout the weekend you always seem to be able to find a parking space within two blocks of the downtown triangle.
Even with much of Yosemite Avenue blocked off and side street connecting to Center Street closed, there are still more than 600 parking spaces on the streets and public lots available within three blocks.
Some of the lots that are overlooked include behind the closed Kelley Brothers Brewing Co. in the 100 block of South Grant and the public lot at the FESM Hall in the 200 block of North Main. Both are within a block of the street fair.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com