The theme of the St. Anthony of Padua Harvest Festival this year speaks of unity. “We are one in the spirit; we are one in the Lord.”
The visual translation of that message created by Sister Ann Venita Britto shows four people, their arms extended and linked to one another with the cross and a white dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, in the center as the unifying element that binds them all together.
That image, designed to focus everyone’s attention to the spirit behind the family-focused annual event set for the weekend of Sept. 21 and 22, will be a ubiquitous presence throughout the festivities, thanks to a number of souvenir items that are being sold as part of this annual fund-raiser which include men’s, ladies’, and children’s T-shirts and polo shirts, grocery bags, visors, and bracelets. Each of them is stamped with this faith-enhancing logo.
They can be purchased after all the Sunday Masses leading up to the weekend festival. The ladies’ T-shirts – red, white, and black – are available in various sizes, from small ($10 apiece) to 2X ($12 each). The men’s T-shirts with pocket and available from medium size to 2X are priced from $10 to $12 each, with the polo shirts offered in the same sizes and in black and gray colors priced at $16 each and $18 for the largest size.
The youth shirts from size small to large are $7 each. Visors, while they last, are $5 each, while bracelets in green, yellow, and blue colors are a buck apiece.
All of the above are also available for purchase at the church office which is the building on the west side of the church. St. Anthony of Padua is located on the northwest corner of Fremont Avenue and East North Street.
The harvest festival, which is the longest-running annual community event in Manteca, will feature many of the same traditional attractions such as food booths featuring ethnic and American food fares, children’s games, used-book sale, a farmer’s market, drawings for big-ticket items such as bicycles, and stage entertainment showcasing local talents.
New this year will be bingo games to be held both days of the festival in the school gymnasium both days of the festival. Players may now reserve their seats for the games. Ten dollars will reserve a seat plus one game packet which will be presented at the door. Additional game packets will be available at the door as well. Advance reservations can be made at the church office.
Admission to the festival is free, as it has always been through the years. The family-oriented extravaganza is open to the public, not only to parishioners.
Missing for the first time this year will be the traditional outdoor live auction that used to open the festival on Sunday following the concelebrated Mass on the festival grounds. It’s all part of the festival-format changes designed to reach as wide an audience as possible in these changing times, according to Lois Wiedenhoeft who, for the second year in a row, is serving as festival chairperson along with husband Keith.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.