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Volunteers make fair impressions
Marilyn Lindberg, center, is flanked by Melisssa Meharg and Lucille Solaegui. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Marilyn Lindberg and Melissa Meharg watched as Lucille Solaegui taste-tested the colorful cupcake topped with a floral motif.

“It tastes like pumpkin,” Solaegui concluded with a swipe of her tongue on her upper lip.

Then she smiled and said that while the yummy pastry was like pumpkin to her taste buds, the yellow ingredient was actually a yam.

The sweet creation won out Solaegui’s taste buds and she pronounced the colorful cupcake a first-place winner in the King Arthur Flour Cupcake competition at the San Joaquin County Fair going on this week through this weekend with gates opening at noon.

The cupcake contest is one of the more than half-dozen exhibits inside the Home Arts Building at the county fairgrounds on South Airport Way and Charter Way in Stockton. Inside, along with the sweet comestibles, are quilts, crafts, ceramics and other exhibits. Behind all the work that went into putting together the exhibits are volunteers made up mostly of Manteca residents, explained Lindberg who is the supervisor of Building 5 where the arts and crafts are on display.

One of those volunteers is Cindy Coble.

“I did it last year and it was so much fun,” smiled Coble explain why she is making an encore volunteer run this year. Part of the enjoyment is seeing all the things “that these kids have created,” she said.

Her “golf buddy” and fellow Manteca Garden Club member Ellen Paradiso organized the adult arts and crafts display.

The Jewelry Case exhibit is the handiwork of Jan Bradley and the rest of her Chain Gang group at the Manteca Senior Center, said Lindberg.

Not just individuals but families like the Ochoas are lending a big helping hand at the fair, added Lindberg, a tax professional and a line dance teacher who also helped in the construction of the county fair web page. Janice Ochoa, her daughter Jessica who was a one-time Manteca Idol, and son John, helped put the displays together and more. Lindberg said John is her “go-to person.” And this Sunday, he will be providing the entertainment in Building 5 from noon to 3 p.m. when he will be playing the piano.

Rounding out the volunteers in Lindberg’s Building 5 exhibits are volunteers from Stockton and Tracy.

“We enjoy working with her (Lindberg) and we enjoy working for the fair,” said Coble naming two of the main reasons she and the other volunteers have become mainstays at the annual county event.