By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Popular holiday luncheon, crafts fair on Saturday
Patty Reece, owner of New York Diamonds in Manteca, is flanked by St. Anthony School students, from left, fourth grader Brittney Martin and her brother, first grader Bobby, and second grader Alyssa Nunes and her brother Evan who is in third grade. Reece is showing the students the 14-karat gold with one-carat diamond necklace that she is donating as the grand prize in the 43rd annual Holiday Luncheon and Crafts Faire drawing. The event will be held Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the school gym located on the corner of Fremont and Sutter streets. Luncheon tickets are $10 each for adults, $8 for seniors. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
The perennially popular Holiday Luncheon and Crafts Faire sponsored by the St. Anthony School Parent-Teacher Group is bigger and better this year.

Set for this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., the school’s biggest fund-raiser of the year which is now in its 43rd year will showcase a total of 36 booths. That’s twice as many unique shopping and browsing destinations that welcomed visitors and shoppers in recent years.

There are so many craft booths participating some of them will be found outside the gym, said DeAnna Nunes who is chairing the holiday fund-raiser this year. Visitors can expect to see the same number of unique one-of-a-kind handmade items from skilled area crafters and artisans, but there will be a number of booths that will feature other popular products such as scented candles, Tupperware and Avon, Nunes explained.

The number of craft booths is not the only thing that’s new for this long-running fund-raiser. For the first time, the holiday luncheon is being held on a weekend instead of midweek. The event has always been held on Wednesday.

However, this change is only experimental, Nunes said. She said several parents got together and decided to see if they could get more people to come on a weekend. Some vendors have also expressed the desire to have the event on a weekend instead of midweek due to the amount of work involved in the preparations, Nunes added.

The luncheon will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The booths will be open during that time, and will remain open until 6 p.m. for the convenience of guests who wish to jumpstart their holiday shopping at this time.

As has been the tradition in years past, the Italian ravioli will be prepared by the Queirolo family. However, for the first time in so many years, Tony and Ida Queirolo’s son Mario will not be there this Saturday because of a previous commitment. The Queirolos’ scrumptious Italian dish, based on a recipe that has been in the family for generations and prepared from scratch, has always been a popular part of the luncheon menu.

 Patty Reece, owner of New York Diamonds which has been donating the grand prize for the drawing every year for the last number of years, says, “the food is always good.”

Tickets for the luncheon are $10 each for adults and $8 for seniors. There is no entrance fee to come in and shop or browse at the craft booths.

The event’s other big attraction is the drawing for major prizes which is held during the luncheon. The raffle tickets will be available for purchase at that time. Reece’s donation for the grand prize this year is a 14-karat gold necklace with a one-carat diamond. In previous years, New York Diamonds has donated a pearl necklace, bracelet and other quality jewelry. Nunes said the quality jewelry that Reece donates to this event is a big factor in the number of tickets sold for the drawing.

“People actually want to buy tickets to win this (necklace),” Nunes said.

“You got to give back to the community,” Reece said, explaining why she continues to support fund-raising efforts such as those sponsored by the PTG group at St. Anthony School and the San Joaquin County Child Abuse Prevention Council.

“Most of the people that come in to the store are families that send their kids to school, and sometimes they need help,” Reece said.

“I’ve known quite a few of them, and they do this (luncheon fund-raiser) to help send their kids to school,” she said.

Indeed, Nunes said the money raised from the annual holiday fund-raiser “goes toward computers, supplies for the school and other things.”

Some of the proceeds also help keep the tuition fee from going up, she added.
While they always serve good food at the luncheon, “it’s a great get-together, too,” Reece said with a smile.
This year’s theme is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

In addition to the necklace, two lucky luncheon guests will go home with two other donated prizes: a teeth-whitening service by Pam Andrews, DDS, for the second prize, and a beautiful handmade quilt which will go to the third-prize winner.

For more information, or to obtain advance tickets, contact the school office at (209)823-4513 or DeAnna Nunes at (209)992-2843.