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Carnival kicks things off today
People browse the carnival midway that opens today at 5 p.m. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

It’s a midway filled with popcorn, cotton candy and fun.
And starting today, the parking lot outside of the complex that used to be Best Buy at the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley at the 120 Bypass and Union Road is going to offer all of those things as well as carnival games, rides and beautiful spring weather.
Ladies and gentlemen, the carnival has come to town.
And it’s not any carnival either.
For the better part of a decade California Carnival Co. owner Kevin Tate has been an annual staple at the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival in February.
The Sacramento native has grown fond of the San Joaquin County communities that have supported his venture wholeheartedly.
What better place to bring your family than a family-owned business.
Tate, who has made a career of bringing his traveling roadshow throughout Northern California, is grooming his son Michael to eventually take over the family business when he’s ready to retire – continuing the tradition of bringing fun to each of the communities that they visit throughout the year.
Manteca. Ripon. Dinuba. Rancho Murrietta, Napa. Santa Maria. Sacramento. Yuba City.
On Wednesday crews were busy at work making sure that everything was in place for a local inspection and up and running for today’s opening day – which begins promptly at 5 p.m.
Boom trucks were used. Screws were tightened. And a miniature city of fun for families was erected and crosschecked to make sure that everything was in working order.
And it’s a labor-intensive process.
The show itself rolls into town in a massive caravan – dozens of ride trucks, 5th Wheels, bunkhouses and trailers. It’s a mobile city that sprouts up in a parking lot or remote area seemingly overnight. Within two days every single piece of equipment is ready for the crowds that come every weekend.
These aren’t Transformers. It’s not as simple as pushing a button and having everything unfold and set up automatically without the elbow grease that the crew was putting on Wednesday.
The massive Ferris Wheel with the cars that allow four people to ride simultaneously high into the Manteca sky? Every single one of those cars has to be detached every time the ride gets broken down, and bolted back on when they get ready for the next stop.
There are hydraulic lines and generators and cables – hundreds of them crisscrossing the midway and shielded by a thick rubber box to prevent any injuries from somebody taking a stumble. The little things need to be taken care of, and sometimes those little things are the ones that get overlooked.
A few bulbs on a ride that’s supposed to draw a crowd just based off its light show. Changing out last-minute parts when something doesn’t quite go as planned. Being able to adjust on the fly.
It takes a lot of work to turn a parking lot into a miniature city built for fun, but that’s exactly what Tate and his crew do when they come to a community.
And it’s all in the name of fun.
The carnival – which runs in conjunction with the annual Crossroads Street Faire, kicks-off today from 5 to 10 p.m. and continues on Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.
Presale ticket books and all-day wristbands can be bought on-site or in advance at the Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau located at 1422 Grove Avenue inside of the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley through 4 p.m. today. For more information about pricing, call 209.823.7229.
Kick-off Party
Friday night
at Library Park
This year’s Manteca Crossroads Street Fair has a new twist — a Kick-off Party.
It takes place this Friday, April 1, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Library Park. It is designed to provide those attending with a different vibe than they’d usually expect at a Library Park gathering.
The Kick-off Party features performances on the Gazebo Stage that will include the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra Woodwind Quartet and harpist, the Sierra High Jazz Ensemble, and the Manteca High cheer squad.
There will be pony rides available for the younger set.
Manteca Grocery Outlet is also sponsoring a wine and craft beer tasting event. The cost for that is $10 per ticket.
The actual street fair in the downtown triangle bounded by Main Street, Center Street and the railroad tracks is Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.