It may be called Pumpkin Fair. But judging by the human traffic that paraded Saturday Sunday around the Pumpkin Fair grounds in downtown Manteca, Family Fair may be an apt moniker for this popular annual event.
Young couples with preschoolers in tow. Mothers coddling babies as young as six weeks old while their husbands pushed a toddler in a stroller. Snow cone-slurping youngsters holding hands with grandparents, ambling along with their smiling parents holding promotional bags crammed with informational brochures and promotional items such as miniature blue toters from the City of Manteca booth and complimentary copies of the day’s Manteca Bulletin.
Among the multi-generation families of fair revelers was that of Georgiana Reichelt of Manteca. Her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter in a stroller leisurely browsed through the many food and arts and crafts booths that lined both sides of the closed-off section of East Yosemite Avenue between North Main Street and the Union Pacific railroad tracks, along Maple and Sycamore streets, and Manteca Avenue next to the public library.
There was no shortage of family-oriented attractions, not to mention the many food booths that catered to every palate and every age group. Younger kids gravitated to a pumpkin-filled enclosed area under the towering sycamore trees in the grassy area next to the interactive water feature in the Library Park. Activities ranging from pumpkin-seed spitting and pumpkin rolling kept the young ones entertained to the hilt. Community Stage entertainers such as the SonDance Christian dancers, the Dance and Cheer Stars, the Victorious Elite Allstars among the more than two-dozen performing groups kept the youngsters’ eyes glued to the free shows. The pre-teen and teen groups enjoyed the scary antics in the haunted house set up inside J & J Printing with Lori Kelley Tubbs and Morgan Caperon welcoming the young guests to the pre-Halloween scary entertainment.
For the young once, there were the Sunday car show sponsored by Phil Waterford’s Manteca Ford and the Trailer and Motorcycle Show sponsored by Manteca Trailer next to Tipton’s Stationery on Maple Street.
But the human traffic was clustered in the food courts. Lockeford Sausage, the perennial favorite, had long lines of hungry fair goers all day. The other food booths attracted their own groups, young and old alike, with such fancy offerings as the tornado potato, a whole potato sliced thinly and then stretched in a stick that you eat like a kabob. Denise’s Farmers Market with its cornucopia of fresh fruits of the season such as seedless red and green grapes, raw honey from local apiaries, and fresh as well as dried vegetables was a special stop for families as well.
Four-legged friends made their appearances as well, as do they do every year, made their presence known also. Many of them, some in fancy leashes, were brought along by families.
Events like the Sunrise Kiwanis-sponsored 29th annual Pumpkin Fair confirm the nickname given to Manteca as the Family City.