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Manteca Pumpkin Fair lives up to its family-friendly flavor
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Carol Soza and daughters, from left, Amanda, 9; Cassandra, 6; and, Marissa, 7, enjoy corn-on-the-cob from one of the Pumpkin Fair food booths Sunday. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

The 27th Annual Sunrise Kiwanis Pumpkin Fair held over the weekend lived up to its family-friendly reputation.

Carrie Nishimoto of Lathrop, who attended the downtown event with other members of her four-generation family, summed it up this way: “The food is great and the weather is perfect. I like the festivities; I like all the booths and the people,” she said with a broad smile as her mother, Lily Nishomoto, 88, sat in her wheelchair listening with a broad grin on her face.

The octogenarian great-grandmother held a bright pink Japanese umbrella to protect her eyes from the early-afternoon sun as her daughter carefully maneuvered her wheelchair down the crowded Sycamore Avenue in downtown Manteca where the event was held.

Carrie Nishimoto had another reason to be really excited about the perennially popular Pumpkin. She won first place in this year’s Pumpkin Fair baking contest which came with a $50 cash prize and a blue ribbon. This was also her first time to enter in a baking contest, she announced with a big smile.

Rounding out the four-generation Nishimoto family who enjoyed the fair on  Sunday were granddaughter-in-law Vangie Nishimoto, and great-grandchildren Melanie Nishimoto, 12, and her brother Thomas, 3.

Patrick Whang of JP Designs was also a satisfied visitor, and vendor, at the recently concluded Pumpkin Fair.

“The kind of people and the crowd here are really nice. Also, the food here at the fair is reasonable,” said Whang whose booth has been a fixture every year at the fall event since 2004.

Whang, who is from the Bay Area, does not have a brick-and-mortar store. “We just go to fairs like this,” he said.

Another business that has been a fixture at the Pumpkin Fair for a number of years is Manteca’s very own New Buds Nursery.

“It’s always good; people are out buying,” was New Buds owner Tom Roddan’s optimistic view of Manteca’s biggest community-wide event in the fall.

His sister, Donna Reich, echoed his positive sentiments saying, they have seen “a lot more business (this time) than last year.”

She added, “There are less vendors (this year) but people are buying more things.”

Mantecan Ronnie Schaapman, who has never missed a Pumpkin Fair in the last several years, agreed that there were “not near as many booths (this weekend) than in the past, but I enjoy it as it is.”

Shericia Chehrego who brought his young son to the fair, did not have anything to complain about either.

“All the variety of things here are really nice. There’s something for everybody,” she said as she purchased a Spiderman plastic doll for her 5-year-old son, Reza.

“It’s a nice family event. I love it,” agreed Carol Soza who brought her three young daughters, Marissa, 7; Cassandra, 6; and, Amanda, 9; to the fair on Sunday.