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St. Anthonys Harvest festival today & Sunday
Volunteer Leo DeGroot, left, helps get things ready on Friday for the Harvest Festival taking place today and Sunday at St. Anthonys Catholic Church. DeGroot has volunteered his services for the event for 50 years. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca’s longest running celebration - the annual St. Anthony’s Harvest Festival - takes place today and Sunday at the church grounds at Fremont and Sutter streets.

New this year is a Health Faire taking place in the gym. The perennially popular chicken dinner is served throughout the day on Sunday. It includes a tri-tip meal and an oyster bar. Sunday’s celebration will begin immediately after the 10:30 a.m. concelebrated and bilingual Mass on the festival grounds and will run through 8 o’clock in the evening.

The regular festival mainstays will be available both days as well, such as the food booths featuring fresh-fried lumpia (Filipino eggroll), tacos, linguica, and pizza, various game booths for children, plus face painting. Used books, one-of-a-kind handmade items such as jewelry and knitted blankets for babies, stuffed animals, and a farmer’s market featuring various fresh produce round out the rest of the booths on tap this weekend.

One of the festival’s biggest attractions every year is returning to its outdoor roots. The live auction, which has been held in the gym in recent years, will be held on the festival grounds again this weekend. Big ticket items include hay, cattle, trips, homemade Portuguese sweet bread and other donations are up for bid during the lively auction.

Tickets for an opportunity drawing at a buck apiece will be available for purchase both days of the festival. One of the many big prizes awaiting the lucky ticket holders is an 8-day, 7-night vacation get-away to Palm Springs. The drawing for these prizes will be held on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the two-day harvest festival.

Accompanying the various food and games will be continuous entertainment on the festival stage highlighting the area’s talented musicians and other performers.

Festival Mass schedules are as follows:

• Saturday: 5 p.m. in English, and 7 p.m. in Spanish, both held in the church.

• Sunday:  7 a.m. in English, and 8:45 a.m. also in English, both held in the church. The outdoor bilingual Mass, which will be concelebrated and with all the church choirs ministering in music, will be held starting at 10:30 a.m. on the harvest festival grounds. There will be no 12:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. Masses.

Festival hours are today from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday  from 11:45 a.m. to 8 p.m.