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Car raffle helps fund events at Woodward Park
Susan Mahoney-Scott shows off the 2011 Ford Fiesta being raffled off to raise funds for this year’s Memorial Day Weekend Commemoration events at Woodward Park. She is in charge of the overall fund-raising effort. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Aerial fireworks, a free concert featuring country star Josh Gracin, and a number of other events designed to bring people together to remember the sacrifice of soldiers as well as to honor those who returned home safely costs money.

And to raise funds the Memorial Day Weekend Commemoration volunteers are raffling off 250 tickets at $100 apiece for a chance to win a 2011 Ford Fiesta.

The car is on display Sunday mornings through May 22 at the Place of Refuge on Button Avenue. Tickets can be purchased by calling 239-1371.

Gracin - a former Marine and American Idol finalist - is paying tribute to those who served America in a free Memorial Day Weekend concert in Manteca taking place Sunday, May 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Woodward Park. Last year’s Forgotten Memorial Commemoration event drew nearly 15,000 people from throughout Northern California.

Gracin, 30, first gained attention as the fourth-place finisher during the second season of American Idol. After being eliminated from the show, he finished his Marine Corps service and signed deal with Lyric Street Records after receiving an honorable discharge.

His debut album in 2004 produced the No. 1 hit “Nothin’ to Lose”.

Other activities

A rare missing man aerial formation using C-130 aircraft - four of the military’s largest airplanes - will pass over Woodward Park that Saturday as well. Seeing a C-130 in a missing man formation isn’t that unusual but having the entire formation consist of C-130 planes is a fairly rare event.

The C-130’s wing span is 132 feet and 7 inches while the transport plane is 97 feet and 9 inches long and 38 feet and 3 inches high.

The aerial fireworks following the show will be twice the size as last year to celebrate the safe return of those who made it back home.”

The day will start with a 5K run at 8 a.m. Worship services will take place at the park at 10 a.m.

There will be a car show with 500 entries, military vehicle display, pony rides, entertainment, a kids’ energy zone twice as large as last year, food, veteran services, and other events.

There will also be three helicopter landings.

The day will include a Gold Star luncheon with families of the 54 men and women in the Northern San Joaquin Valley who have lost their lives so far in the Global War on Terror invited as guests.

The 6 p.m. ceremonies will feature the dedication of another panel of 600 lives lost that is part of the moving tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Global War on Terror.