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Pumpkins roll into Manteca, Lathrop
Pumpkin Fair, Pumpkin Maze both open Saturday
The pumpkin blasters use “live ammo” in the form of mini-pumpkins. - photo by Bulletin file photo




Pumpkin mania gets into full swing Saturday when two South County traditions - the Sunrise Kiwanis Pumpkin Fair in Manteca and the Dell’Osso Farms Pumpkin Maze in Lathrop - get underway at 10 a.m.

The 26th annual version of the Pumpkin Fair under the auspices of the Sunrise Kiwanis runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday in downtown Manteca. Nearly 40,000 people are expected to enjoy browsing more than 180 vendors as well as take advantage of free pumpkin games for kids plus free entertainment. There will be kids’ rides and food. A car show takes place Sunday.

Admission is free.

The Pumpkin Fair carnival starts today at 4 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. between JC Penney and Best Buy at The promenade Shops at Orchard Valley at the Highway 120 Bypass and Union Road. Thursday and Friday hours are also 4 to 10 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday hours are noon to 10 p.m.

Pumpkin maze open thru Oct. 31
The 13th annual Pumpkin Maze at Interstate 5 and Manthey Road in Lathrop opens Saturday and stays open through Oct. 31. It starts each day at 10 a.m. with gates closing at 8 p.m. and attractions open until the last person gets through them.

New this year is an aerial ropes course as well as a spinning pumpkins ride.

The Pumpkin Maze drew a record 140,000 people last year when the Dell’Osso Express train ride, zip line, and general store were added last year to the repertoire of low-tech family fun. All of those attractions will be back this year plus the popular pumpkin blasters that use bazooka-style devices to hurl mini-pumpkins at speeds approaching 120 mph toward various targets. All of the ammo is grown at Dell’Osso Farms.

The Pumpkin Maze also features free pedal car rides, a scarecrow wagon ride, pony rides, pumpkins for sale, and obstacle courses for kids, gold panning, and the main attraction of three corn mazes.

This year’s corn maze designs include a cat, a pumpkin on a hay bale, and a witch on the moon. There also will be a riddle game added that is played as you wander through the maze.

Based on information gleaned by a national organization of ag tourism businesses Dell’Osso Farms is ranked No. 3 in the nation and tops in California for attendance.

On Friday, Oct., 1, the Pumpkin Maze activities will be available only for those participating in the Manteca Pumpkin Fair Special Access day organized by the Sunrise Kiwanis. It involves challenged adults from the Northern San Joaquin Valley who will enjoy a free day plus food and dancing supplied by the Kiwanis.

Susan Dell’Osso noted that every ride at the site is somehow tied into the Dell’Osso family or the childhood of her husband Ron who just turned 54.

“Some people may say what a zip line has to do with a farm,” she said. “When Ron was a kid he and his friends would go out to the river and play Tarzan swinging from ropes.”

Story boards will reflect Ron Dell’Osso’s childhood fun that led to various attractions. The ropes course, for example, is an outgrowth of his walking on beams in the barn while the pumpkin blasters were inspired by his days of playing “war” near the brick silos with friends using dirt clods and walnuts after watching classic World War II movies.

Admission and parking is free. For prices of various attractions you can go to