St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca is 100 years old this year. And the biggest celebration so far to mark this major milestone is the annual parish harvest festival taking place this weekend on the church grounds at the corner of Fremont Sutter Streets.
The harvest festival itself is nowhere near the century mark of the church’s founding, although it holds a record all its own. Started soon after the opening of the parochial school in the early 1950s as a fund-raiser for the town’s first, and thus far only Catholic educational institution in the family city, the event has become the longest-running community celebration by the same organizer.
Parishioners of St. Anthony’s, and others who want to memorialize the church’s centennial milestone, can share this piece of history by picking up something at the festival to remember this red-letter day. One of the booths at the festival is dedicated to selling a selection of souvenir mementos including a heavy glass paperweight with an etching of the parish’s patron saint, St. Anthony of Padua with the Child Jesus. One can be purchased at $40 each. The other centennial souvenir items that can be purchased are wine glasses at $18 apiece. Each glass features a centennial inscription marking the church’s 100th year.
The three day continues today, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The regularly scheduled harvest festival outdoor mass on the festival grounds is being held inside the church this year. It will be a multi-lingual concelebrated Mass starting at 10:30 a.m. and will be live-streamed to an overflow crowd on the festival grounds.
In place of a netting above the festival area that has been the standard weather protection through the years, a professionally installed and imposing white tent is now in place for the comfort of festival attendees.
As with previous years, there will be food and game booths galore, plus entertainment on stage, a beer garden, live and silent auctions throughout the weekend. Multicultural food featured include tacos, lumpia (eggrolls, and pizza.
As has always been the tradition since its inception, admission to the fun-filled, family-oriented harvest festival is free.