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LCR to give away packs, host cactus festival in Ceres
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The Latino Community Roundtable will be distributing free backpacks for needy children of Ceres and Stanislaus County at a Sunday, Aug. 3 giveaway at the Ceres Flea Market on Whitmore Avenue, said Maggie Mejia.

The distribution will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Last year LCR gave out 1,000 packs but this year 1,300 will be distributed.

Mejia also said that her group is also sponsoring the second annual Cactus Festival (Festival de Nopal) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept 7. Also held at the Ceres Flea Market, last year's free event drew 4,000 people, Mejia said.

"With Stockton shutting down its Asparagus Festival, this will probably be the only food festival up and down the Valley," she told the Ceres City Council as she asked for city sponsorship.

Tony Madrigal spoke to the council about the festival which celebrates the cactus as a "filler food" in Latin countries.

There will be a recipe contest, which is free to enter, he said. He likened the taste of cactus to asparagus and said it has been widely reported to counteract with diabetes.

The festival will also have a queen contest during the festival.

City Attorney Mike Lyions said city co-sponsorship of the event should not be a problem. Madrigal specifically wants to place the city logo on promotional materials.

Santa Cruz celebrates the cactus complete with cactus flavored ice cream.