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Thousands enjoy a special Pumpkin Fair
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Students from Shasta Elementary School in Manteca clutch their pumpkins, a treat to all the students from the George Perry & Sons in Manteca. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO


•WHAT: 30th annual Sunrise Kiwanis Manteca Pumpkin Fair

•WHERE: Downtown Manteca

•WHEN: Today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


They came by the thousands – as far south as Merced, west to Orinda, Plymouth to the east, and Sonora and Jackson in the foothills. These are the students – 2,250 of them – who converged at the Dell’Osso Family Farm at River Islands in Lathrop for the 2014 Manteca Pumpkin Fair Special Access Day.

Sponsored for about three decades by the Manteca Noon Kiwanis, along with other major supporters, Friday’s Special Day on the Farm excursion kicked off this weekend’s annual extravaganza held in downtown Manteca. The festival gets a running start this morning with the ninth annual Faustina Rosas Pumpkin Run sponsored by the non-profit Manteca Unified Student Trust. The 1K and 5K runs begin with the 7 a.m. registrations at North and Walnut streets near the Manteca Bikepath.

“It grows every year,” said Elaine Thompson, Special Access Day coordinator for the last 21 years, about Friday’s attendance. All together, including staff and other volunteers, there was an army of 2,500 people who populated the Dell’Osso Family Farm who turned out for the day’s extravaganza.

The special guests danced to the lively music courtesy of Manteca’s own Jim “Elvis” Anderson and DJ John Guinta, played exuberantly in several bounce houses, took a leisurely sightseeing venture around the Dell’Osso farm aboard an open tour train, enjoyed a picnic lunch alfresco, then lined up for a pumpkin treat to take home courtesy of George Perry & Sons.

Thompson, who is the incoming president of the Noon Kiwanis, said several major sponsors always make Special Access Day a memorable one for the kids. Cargill Food Distribution provided the hot dogs, while MBM Food Service donated all the lunch sacks, napkins and condiments.

“New this year is Freund Bakery from the Bay area,” which donated the hot dog buns, Thompson said.

Platinum sponsors are J.R. Simplot, Dell’Osso, Alhambra Water, St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and Pentel of America. Stars N Stripes, California Milk Advisory board, Storer Coachways, Chez Shari, Manteca Ambulance, Golden Valley Federal Credit Union, J&J Printing, Manteca Chamber of Commerce, The Office City, Diesel Master, Dyno Master, Mecom Distribution, and Ben Cantu rounded out this year’s sponsor roster.