Decisions in the coming days and weeks may decide the fate of the 2020 editions of a number of Manteca-Lathrop-Ripon traditions from the postponed Crossroads Street Fair to the Dell’Osso Farms Pumpkin Maze that drew more than 100,000 visitors last year.
It has put city officials in the awkward position of how to advise organizations to proceed with planning given the multiple day events take months to put together. Making the issue more complicated is the need for the San Joaquin County Health Department to give clearance for such events that are part of phase four of reopening.
And the county can’t do anything without the state giving them the option to do so.
Toss in the rise of county COVID-19 patients — there were 89 in various hospitals on Wednesday — and you have another wildcard. It is likely if hospitalizations increase or stay high the county’s top health official, Dr. Maggie Park, won’t sign off on two-day events such as an open access street fair that draws 30,000 to 40,000 people as opposed to controlled public settings such as stores that are not only following various COVID-19 protocols but often have personnel dedicated to keeping the number of customers inside at one time.
Large community-based events that are in limbo besides Dell’Osso Farms Pumpkin Maze and the Crossroads Street Fair are the Manteca Pumpkin Fair and Ripon Main Street Day.
And while organizers of the events have repeatedly stressed they are first and foremost concerned about the health and safety of people, not staging the events could create big holes in the budgets of non-profits. The street fair is the biggest fundraiser for the Manteca Chamber that relies on it for year-round operations.
The Pumpkin Fair — by far the biggest annual fundraising event in Manteca — would not create a cash issue for the Sunrise Kiwanis but it would impact a wide repertoire of community non-profits. Last year the Kiwanis donated more than $52,000 to various organizations from proceeds of the fair. That is in addition to an estimated $20,000 plus that community groups generated from booth sales.
The lack of street fairs this year has slammed vendors hard that rely on the events to make a living. Among the ranks of vendors are those based in Manteca.
Assistant City Manager Lisa Blackmon said the city’s emergency operations center command staff will be exploring what allowing street fairs and such would look like if the county provides the green light.
Even though flea markets and swamp meets have been cleared to open that are similar but not the same as street fairs, Blackmon said the matter is complicated by the fact events such as the Crossroads Street Fair and Pumpkin Fair are taking place on public property without controlled access points.
She noted that the state fair as well as county fairs have all been cancelled.
In the case of the Pumpkin Maze in Lathrop, Susan Dell’Osso said they are looking for direction by Aug. 1 from the county as to whether to proceed with the month-long event in October.
Dell’Osso said the corn maze has already been planted.
“We definitely will implement whatever protocols are required,” Dell’Osso said if the Pumpkin Maze is allowed to take place.
The logistics required to open an amusement attraction such as the Pumpkin Maze is daunting enough without taking COVID-19 restrictions into account. On Wednesday, Disneyland opted to postpone their planned reopening in mid-July until the state provides guidelines for social distancing. Much like Disneyland, the Pumpkin Maze has to secure its staff and take steps to assure their safety and that of guests accessing various attractions.
The clock is running on whether the Crossroads Street Fair will take place on its fallback dates of Aug. 6-7 after the Manteca Chamber postponed it from the first week of April due to the pandemic stay at home owners.
There are more than 100 vendors committed to the date.
Chamber Executive Director Joann Beattie said she the city is working with the non-profit to advise them on what might need to be done if they are given the green light.
Postponing the Crossroads Street Fair to even later in the year might be problematic assuming it could still be staged as it would start running up against the Manteca Pumpkin Fair the first week of October.
Sunrise Kiwanis Pumpkin Fair Chair Morris Lacy said the service club is still planning an event but noted they still need clearance to do so.
Half Moon Bay — that conducts its own pumpkin festival the week after Manteca’s — has already cancelled this year’s event. San Mateo County, where Half Moon Bay is located, has been more stringent and slower on reopening than San Joaquin County.
Aerial fireworks on,
parade off while
breakfast is a go
The city over a month ago agreed with the Sunrise Kiwanis that a Fourth of July parade wasn’t in the cards this year nor was the city’s annual Independence Day community event at the Big League Dreams sports complex.
The City of Manteca’s annual aerial fireworks is a go for the Fourth of July. City leaders may a decision to forge ahead with it as people will be more spread out and would not be gathered for an extended period of time.
This year’s aerial display does have a wrinkle that will reduce the effective viewing area. New construction — specifically the 500-room Great Wolf Resort — has reduced the fallout area for embers. That means fireworks will end up being fired 100 feet lower this year than last to meet state safety standards.
Blackmon said the city, that is publishing a list of recommended viewing spots, has already secured approval from Costco to use their parking lot this year for people to view the aerial display. That is in addition to the 500-space Big League Dreams parking lot that is the optimum viewing spot given the fireworks will be launched from the wastewater treatment plant
The Manteca Noon Kiwanis pancake breakfast — a city tradition for 40 years — is still a go but in a pandemic adjusted drive thru format. The breakfast is the service club’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
It will take place July 4 from 8 to 11 a.m.
Instead of the traditional sit-down breakfast, they will be offering the regular Pancake Breakfast of pancakes, ham, eggs, and coffee for curbside pickup at the Manteca Senior Center, located at 295 Cherry Lane.
Tickets for the breakfast purchased before July 4 are $7 for adults and $4 for children under 10. Tickets purchased at the event are $8 for adults and $5 for children. To purchase tickets online before July 4, visit www.tinyurl.com/MantecaBreakfast
For more information, contact David at (209) 601-6860 or email@example.com.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org