By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Thousands enjoy Ceres Street Faire
Mild temperatures make for a pleasant event
Horse riding
Aarilyn Powers of Hilmar takes a ride on a pony in Whitmore Park at the Street Faire with her mommy Vanessa holding on. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

The Ceres Street Faire enjoyed cool temperatures and brisk attendance over the weekend and organizers described it as one of the best events ever in the faire's 29-year history.

"The weather was amazing and enhanced our attendance," said Lisa Mantarro Moore. "We were just so pleased with our results both days. I think we had the most attendance Saturday afternoon between 3 and 5. But Sunday, which is normally a quieter day, at 4 o'clock when we wind down we still had the streets full of people."

The food vendors reported record sales with many running out of supplies and scrambling to buy more for Sunday. The Ceres High School Boosters Club ran out of food at 2 p.m. Saturday and had to buy more. The same happened to the Ceres Lions Club which sold barbecued tri-tip sandwiches.

The Faire drew over 110 vendor booths.

"It's increased for us the last few years," said Moore. "After the economy shifted it's really come back up high and this was a really good number for us. We're excited for how our vendors will be next year with our downtown renovated."

"We had some great additions in our vendor categories and are seeing such a resurgence of Arts & Crafts," said Kim Chapman, who was in charge of the Faire vendors. "People are excited for the Centennial year of Ceres approaching and the coinciding with the 30th year of the Street much so that I already have many vendors pre-registered for next year in anticipation of the size of the event and wanting to secure their space in what is sure to be a monumental celebration. This is unprecedented and we are excited to see the enthusiasm."

Saturday's car show attracted 120 car entries, which spilled over into the Ceres Community Center parking lot. Last year and estimated 80 cars were entered.

Despite a stellar parade lined up at 10 a.m. to kick things off for the weekend, attendance along the parade route was sparse. The parade was sanctioned by the Pacific Coast Judges Association with a judges reviewing stand in front of the Richland Shopping Center. Announcers for the parade were Ceres native Jim Wells, known as "Jungle Jim" on Kat Country radio station, and Channce Condit. Sid Long, a longtime Ceres resident and farmer, served as the grand marshal under the parade theme, "Ceres: The Goddess of Agriculture."

The parade was replete with equestrian entries since it has been included in the California State Horsemen's Association state championship series. The Mid-Valley Unit of the Back Country Horsemen of California, which appeared in the Rose Parade, was in the parade as was the Sacramento County Sheriff's Posse. Also on hand was the Merced County Sheriff's Posse which in January marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. for President Donald Trump's Inaugural Parade. Other entries include 4-H groups, several baseball and softball teams including Ceres Youth Baseball, Ceres Seahawks, Ceres Cowboys and Ceres Junior Bulldogs.

"I thought the weekend was fantastic," said City Manager Toby Wells. "The weather was perfect and the large crowd was very well behaved and I especially enjoyed seeing all of the families out enjoying the best in our community. A special thanks to all of the volunteers and hours of hard work to put together a very successful event."

Ceres Chamber of Commerce President Renee Ledbetter said the Street Faire "was one of best we've experienced with over 100 cars in the car show, many new vendors, great entertainment and, of course, the delicious Faire food."

She noted that staff members at the Ceres Chamber booth were excited to chat with Faire-goers who stopped by to check out the artist renderings of how Fourth Street will appear once the revitalization project gets underway this summer into fall.

"People are getting excited about it," said Ledbetter.
Tom Westbrook, the city's Community Development director who helped man the Chamber's margarita book Saturday morning at Fourth and Lawrence streets, felt the Faire was well attended with the mild weather being a factor.

"Crowds seemed constant and many families and children took part in rides that were available," said Westbrook. "Some of the best attendance was from the Ceres Youth Soccer booth where Lou Toste and friends signed up hundreds for their program."

Westbrook also manned the city of Ceres' booth that highlighted the city General Plan update. He reported that many residents participated in a dot exercise where they could select their top priorities for the community.

"I answered many questions but most people wanted to know when Walmart Supercenter would be built and what else would be developed in that center," said Westbrook.

During the Car Show the Grand Champion award went to Bob and Vivian Eisen for their 1940 Ford Deluxe Coup. Mark Kirkwood's 1965 Mercury Comet Convertible earned him the Street Faire Choice Award. The "Best of Show Car" award went to Dave and Anita Rached's 1957 Ford Skyliner 500 while the "Best of Show Truck" award went to Victor Alvarez's 1956 Ford F-100 pickup. The Ceres Chamber of Commerce Choice award was given to Raymond Perea for his 1956 Ford F-100 pickup. The Lions Club Award was bestowed on Ted Smernes for his 1940 Ford Ceres Drug Store sedan delivery wagon. The Competitors Award was earned by Warren Cawley for his 1952 Studebaker Commander. The Elvis Award went to Gary and Eileen Costello for their 1968 Ford Mustang. Steve Castillo's 1951 Chevy earned the People's Choice award. The Sponsor's Choice went to Jerry Rhodes' 1956 Bel-Air. Gerardo Diaz won the "Most Unique" award for his 1975 Mercury Cougar.