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St. Anthony luncheon returns to salad days
Patty Reece, owner of New York Diamonds in the Walmart shopping center on South Main Street in Manteca, is shown holding the red sapphire and diamonds necklace thats one of the big-ticket raffle prize items to be given away during the 48th annual Holiday Luncheon and Craft Faire . With Reece are students, from left, Angelina Santos, 7; Noah Holdren, 8; Gabriella Santos, 7; and Jenna Holdren, 5. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

St. Anthony of Padua School in Manteca is once again playing host to the annual Holiday Luncheon and Craft Faire, arguably its most popular fund-raising event of the year.

One thing that is certain, though. This is Manteca’s longest-running event by the same sponsor. The combination crafts faire and luncheon is now in its 48th straight year. The school itself opened in 1952.

The fund-raiser began in the early days as a salad luncheon with the addition of handcrafted items for early holiday shopping. Parents of students brought their own salad specialties for the occasion. But through the years, changes occurred. The luncheon shed off its all-salad menu. Changes in the laws governing events like this, mainly in the health department, was partly the reason.

This time, the fund-raiser is going back to its salad roots albeit not in the tradition that it was when it was held potluck-style. However, there will be as many as five different kinds of salads offered to visitors, said event chairperson Kelly Holdren. There will be Asian chicken, broccoli, potato, pasta, and green salads for guests. Rounding out the meal will be ravioli, roll, and dessert. Cost per person is $15 each for adults, and $10 for seniors.

The theme this year is “Here Comes Santa Claus!” The sit-down luncheon and the craft faire will take place in the school gymnasium on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Two-dozen craft booths, several of them taking part for the first time, will be open to shoppers and browsers.

There will be raffle prizes to be given away as well. First prize is a red sapphire and diamond necklace donated by Patty Reece of New York Diamonds in Manteca. Second prize will be a handcrafted quilt donated by Ladybug’s Quilts in Manteca. The third prize is a teeth-whitening from Manteca dentist Ricardo Cuevas. Tickets for the drawing will be sold during the luncheon. To purchase a ticket or for other questions, call the St. Anthony School office at 823.4513, Kelly Holdren at 825.7627, or 408.386.4680.