A little bit about a lot of things:

• Names can be the bane of my existence at times.

The Gustine City Council has been interesting for the past couple of years, with two Oliveiras sitting on the governing board.

Have to be careful taking notes to specify who said what, and differentiate between their respective quotes.

Now the council also includes recent appointee David Craig, as well as Craig Turner....and the other applicant who interviewed for the recent appointment was Craig Christenson, for good measure.

Of course, wrestling with names is nothing really new.

Some of the more common names phonetically on the West Side have different iterations of spelling, which tends to keep us on our toes.

We try to keep everything straight, but sometimes it’s an adventure.

• Love harvest season.....even though we’re still on the front edge of the fall harvest, Kat and I found plenty to take in as we toured the countryside recently in search of ag-related photos for the paper.

The autumn season was always a special time while growing up....watching the corn and soybeans turn from green to brown was a sign that combines would soon be in the fields.

Harvest has a certain pace, a well-established routine and rhythm that goes with each and every crop.

We found almonds, tomatoes and hay being harvested, as well as evidence that crews had been working through some melon patches as well.

Roaming the countryside at harvest time is far preferable to sitting in an office.

• After two weeks of scaled-down football contests, we roll out the more traditional version of our weekly contest, which will continue for the next 11 weeks.

Contest cash will be offered weekly - and a $100 check awaits the contestant who has the most overall correct picks through the course of the season.

Good luck!

• The Fall Festival is upon us....and the cornhole craze continues.

Those topics are not unrelated.

Festival chairperson Julie Barcelos reports that entries in the festival’s new cornhole tournament (set for Sunday afternoon) are off the charts, which is testament to the popularity of the game.

I enjoyed watching the Fourth of July cornhole tournament in Gustine. Two things were clear....folks take the game pretty seriously - and a lot of them are darn good at it.

Cornhole is just one of the attractions in what is shaping up to be an entertaining Fall Festival weekend!

• And...if it’s Fall Festival time the Our Lady of Miracles Celebration can’t be far behind.

The “big weekend” for the Celebration is Sept. 8-9, when thousands make the annual pilgrimage to Gustine for the annual event.

We proudly present our 2018 Celebration program inside this issue. The program includes a schedule, stories on those involved in the Celebration, photos and more.

Locals refer to this as Gustine’s “big” festa.....and that is probably an understatement.

The scale alone is a sight to behold, with the seemingly endless processions and the park packed with people. What truly defines the Celebration, however, is not its scale but the faith and traditions the event honors. That devotion makes the Celebration a special event not only on the West Side but in the hearts of those of Portuguese descent around the world.

• Halloween is going to be a busy night on the West Side!

Gustine has done a Halloween “trunk or treat” event for the past several years, and Newman is following suit with one of its own this year.

The Newman Partnership (not the Newman after-school program, as initially reported) is sponsoring downtown festivities that will include trunk-or-treating (with candy dispensed from the back of decorated vehicles) as well as a children’s parade and costume contest.

There will be a lot packed into the event, which runs from 4:30-7 p.m.

Trunk-or-treating is a family-friendly, safe alternative to the more traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating....and packing that much fun into one space just makes for a great evening full of colorful characters.

Those interested in participating in Newman’s trunk-or-treat event may contact Chanelle Raboteau at 556-7461. In Gustine, those wanting to learn more about the trunk-or-treat festivities may get in touch with Tiffany Vitorino, 854-9411.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.