By DENNIS WYATT
Some Northern San Joaquin Valley communities celebrate produce such as almonds, asparagus, grapes, and apricots. And there are plenty of fun times that are connected with each event
Manteca celebrates the pumpkin — the one fruit grown for fun.
It’s not by accident that Manteca has a Pumpkin Fair.
Three dozen semi-trucks a day roll out of Manteca carrying some 55,000 tons of pumpkins destined for vendors and doorsteps throughout California. That’s 80 percent of all commercially grown pumpkins in the Golden State. And while regions in Ohio top California and the Manteca for the volume of pumpkins grown, Manteca is the undisputed No. 1 area in the United States for the harvest of pumpkins intended for ornamental purposes only as the pumpkin has come to mean to Halloween what pine trees do to Christmas.
Enough about the why there is a Pumpkin Fair. Now let’s talk about the fun.
The Sunrise Kiwanis have arranged for more than 150 vendors to line the streets in the downtown Manteca triangle. It can be accessed by taking Yosemite Avenue west off the Highway 99 freeway or Main Street north from the 120 Bypass.
The free event is Saturday, Oct. 7, and Sunday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The heart of the Pumpkin Fair is Library Park where the Pumpkin Zone events for kids take place. Included are everything from pumpkin rolling and pumpkin seed spitting contests to pumpkin pie eating competition. You can also pick out and buy pumpkins to take home.
There’s a car show Sunday and haunted house both days.
The two day lineup for the Main Stage includes:
Saturday, Oct. 7
11 a.m. to noon, Johnny and Dakota
12:15 to 1:30 p.m., Sky Kings
2 to 3:30 p.m., Random Strangers
4:30 to 6 p.m., Jim Anderson & The Rebels
Sunday, Oct. 8
10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Dakota & Johnny
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. One Mile
1:30 to 3 p.m., Threshold
3:30 to 5 p.m., Agent
The Sunrise Kiwanis also will have the Community Stage at Library Park featuring local performers.
Back this year is “Pumpkin Fair after Dark.”
It features the presentation of the movie “Night of the Living Dead.” The 1968 movie classic will be shown at the Pumpkin Fair Beer Garden at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Admission is free. Beer, water, soda, and popcorn will be available for purchase. Beer sales will end at 8 p.m.