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Plenty of family fun
Thousands pack downtown streets on first day
Emma Numan helps put the pins back up after she knocked them down in the Pumpkin Bowling game at the Kids Zone in Library Park during Saturdays Manteca Pumpkin Fair that continues today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m - photo by HIME ROMERO

Jason Sutton crouched down to put his hand into the water sputtering from the railroad feature in Library Park Saturday afternoon.

With his daughter Zoe in front of him splashing around, Sutton never saw the massive onslaught of water rising behind him until it was nearly too late – dashing forward to dodge the stream and letting out a loud laugh in the process.

It was just a day with his fiancé and his kids at the 27th annual Sunrise Kiwanis Pumpkin Fair. It was something that he wouldn’t have changed for the world.

“This is really a family event, and you don’t really have to worry about anything out here – you don’t have to worry about violence or anything like that,” said Sutton. “It’s peaceful and it’s safe and that’s what makes it such a great event to take your kids to.”

The fair continues downtown today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday for the first day of the two-day event that transforms Downtown Manteca from a quaint shopping district into a packed bazaar. From Rastafarian merchandise to handmade crafts, vendor booths of all types managed to draw customers into picking up a variety of unique wares.

And then there was the music.

Elvis enthusiast Jim Anderson and his backup band, the Rebels, kept the main stage rocking Saturday afternoon while people filled the “beer garden” to get a closer look.

“He’s really good and he stays in that Elvis mode,” said Skylar Teele, who spent her afternoon at the fair with friends. “It’s free entertainment and it’s not bad so you can’t really beat it.”

One of the constant draws throughout the day was the Manteca Police Department’s K9 booth – staffed by various officers that had their dogs with them throughout the day.

According to Officer Will Mueller, the event gives officers like him that work graveyard the chance to come out and meet the public – allowing residents to come pet the dogs and see that they’re not the vicious things that most people think that they are.

“We don’t get this opportunity very often. It’s really hard to get out and meet people when we’re responding to calls all of the time, and especially when you’re working graveyard and most people aren’t out,” Mueller said. “If I’m out on a weekend and I see people barbecuing I’ll stop and introduce myself and bring up the dog and show them that it’s not what everybody thinks it is.

“An event like this – especially when we can get a booth up – allows us to be able to do that all day, and that’s something that we really enjoy.