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Watermelon festival is part of street fair this Saturday, Sunday

Before Manteca became the epicenter of pumpkin growing on the West Coast — almost 80 percent of all commercial pumpkins sold in California come from area fields — it was known for watermelons.

That’s why it is only fitting that since the pandemic delayed Crossroads Street Fair was rescheduled three months later just as the watermelons are ripening, that the Manteca Chamber of Commerce would opt to add a watermelon festival element to this weekend’s street fair.

The 24th annual edition of the Crossroads Street Fair is taking place Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Manteca. Main Street will be closed both days between Center Street and Moffat Boulevard.

It will include a number of free watermelon contests for kids under the shade of Library Park’s stately sycamore trees. Library Park is where you will also find small-scale kids’ 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.

Other games are being planned as well such as bean bag tossing.

The 14-month gap since the last street fair — it takes place traditionally during the first full weekend in Easter — due to the pandemic has set the stage for this to be the largest ever in terms of vendors.

That is especially true with artisans and crafters who have reserved more than 100 spaces.

“A lot of crafters have been making items and stockpiling them (due to the pandemic),” noted Manteca Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joann Beattie.

It also helps this weekend’s street fair is the first to take place in the Northern San Joaquin Valley in 16 months.

As a result there is record 262 vendor spaces secured.

“We only have a handful of spaces left,” Beattie said.

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.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email