Couple invites community to join festivities
by Sam Matthews
Oct 18, 2013 | 3614 views | 0 0 comments | 497 497 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dave and Pam Warta are zeroing in on their second effort to provide a community holiday celebration in our town.

I sipped coffee with what could easily be called “the dynamic duo” this week and heard about their plans for the second Tracy’s Home for the Holidays event in November.

The format will be the same as last year, but Dave and Pam hope that incremental improvements will be made along the way and that participation by Tracy area residents will increase.

The Wartas inaugurated what could become a traditional Tracy holiday event last year after the Tracy Hospital Foundation, which had sponsored the Festival of Trees for several decades, decided to try something else.

Dave and Pam, as unpaid volunteers, had organized a dozen of the Festival of Trees and felt the community would feel the void if they didn’t step up and put together a successor holiday event.

The result is Tracy’s Home for the Holidays, a three-day series of activities aimed at the entire family.

This year’s event is scheduled Nov. 23 and 24, a Saturday and Sunday, followed by the Monday noon free Thanksgiving luncheon for senior citizens.

Things will get underway in the main Portuguese Hall on that Saturday morning with a family breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. As a new wrinkle, the breakfast will be served by members of the Tracy Breakfast Lions Club, which hosts a breakfast each Fourth of July morning in Lincoln Park.

The Lions will serve eggs, sausage, pancakes, juice and coffee. Costs are $10 for adults and $8 for children younger than 8.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, the gift boutique and children’s crafts will operate next door in the smaller hall. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to greet the nippers and have photos taken; balloons will be shaped; and food, candies and handicrafts will be offered for sale at booths operated by local crafts people. Hall entry is free of charge both days.

Saturday night, Nov. 23, will be the dinner-dance in the main hall, beginning at 5 p.m. A steak dinner will be served by Mike Bacchetti, and music for dancing will be provided DJ Dave Tillman. Cost: $55 per person.

“Last year, we had 125 people take part in the dinner-dance,” Pam said. “This year, we want to double that.”

On Sunday, a senior breakfast served by the Breakfast Lions kicks things off from 9 to 11 a.m., and the holiday boutique will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. will see a fashion show with wine and cheese featuring items from My Best Friend’s Closet. Tickets, $20 each, will be sold at the store at 821 N. Central Ave.

The Wartas will conclude their holiday efforts on Monday, Nov. 25, with a free senior citizen Thanksgiving luncheon in the main Portuguese Hall.

A new element in this year’s Tracy’s Home for the Holidays is a “Holidays Passport” program co-sponsored by the Tracy City Center Association. Participants will pick up a “passport” at one of 12 downtown stores and then have it stamped at each of the stores. Completed passports will be used in a raffle, with the winner receiving $500.

As last year, all proceeds from Tracy’s Home for the Holidays will go to the Tracy Sunrise Rotary Club Foundation to support local community organizations. Last year’s event generated $2,000, and with a bigger turnout this year, the net income could be bigger, said Dave.

Pam added: “The funds for the nonprofit organizations are important, but mainly we want an event that brings people of the community together to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.”

A Kodak moment

That was quite an honor Tracyite John Meyer was recently accorded by the British Royal Photographic Society. As an article elsewhere in today’s Press indicates, he was recognized for his work at the Hewlett-Packard labs in Palo Alto in developing inkjet full-color printing and digital photography.

There was one obvious irony in his receiving the award: It has been sponsored annually since 1998 by Kodak European Research and Development Laboratories.

Inkjet color printing and digital photography, both products John was involved in developing at HP, meant the near-demise of Kodak, which for too long kept its focus on film and lagged far behind HP and other firms in digital imaging.

• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at

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