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Our Lady of Guadalupe plans kids festival on Saturday
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LATHROP – Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Parish in Lathrop is starting what could become an annual tradition for the community.

“El Dia de los Ninos,” or Festival for Children, which is a popular annual event in Mexico and in Latin American countries, will be held for the first time at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot.

It’s a children’s festival with plenty of American flavor.

“We’re asking the children to put on their favorite cartoon character costume like Batman, and we’re going to have best-dressed prizes,” said church spokeswoman Martha Ornelas.

There will be plenty of food, too, she said. Couples for Christ coordinator Robert Valenzuela, along with the members of other ministry groups in the parish will be preparing Filipino and Mexican food plus hot dogs that day, Ornelas said.

Along with the food will be a wide variety of games for children including darts, milk bottle toss, bingo and face painting.

“There’s going to be a lot of stuff going on, and we’ll have entertainment,” she said.

Among the entertainers will be “a man with his horse,” plus a Mexican ballet folklorico group made up of students from Lathrop Elementary and Golden West School in Manteca who are members of the parish.

El Dia de los Ninos is a popular tradition in Mexico that is held every year on the last day of April, Ornelas explained.

However, since April 30 falls on a Friday when many people are at work, they moved the celebration to Saturday, May 1, she said.

Admission to the event is free and is open to the public. However, the food and drinks will be for sale with the proceeds being used to help defray the expenses for the event. There will be minimal fees charged for the games as well.
In some places in the country, El Dia de los Ninos or Children’s Day, is held in conjunction with book-reading activities for children.

The day’s aim is to celebrate hope for the children and to recognize the important role they play in shaping the future.

If the event proves to be a success, they may consider having it every year, said Ornelas.

“Hopefully, if we have funds and it’s a success, I think we might consider doing it every year, she said.
For further details about El Dia de los Ninos, call the church office at 858-4466 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, the Stockton Diocese’s youngest parish at four years old, is located on Cambridge Drive in Lathrop just a block north from Louise Avenue. The church pastor is Father Francisco Naranjo.