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Modesto

MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: The Associated Students of Modesto Junior College will recognize Mexican Independence Day with a Fiesta on the Quad on Thursday from noon until 3 p.m. on the east campus, 435 College Ave. Mexico's Independence Day, which is Sept. 16, will be commemorated with music provided by Super Estrella -- KTSE 97.1 FM radio, and with piñatas. There will be an array of Mexican food for sale, including tamales, rice, beans, fruit, pan dulce and horchata. The event is open to the public, and there is no admission charge. For information, contact the Associated Students office at 575-6700.

LEGAL PROFESSIONALS TO MEET: The Stanislaus County Legal Professionals Association will hold its monthly meeting today at Appetez, 825 W. Roseburg Ave., Modesto, beginning at 6 p.m. The speakers will be Deputy District Attorneys Marlissa Ferreira and Rick Allen discussing the "Top 10 Scams" in real estate. For reservations, call Patti at 529-9391 or 578-4854.

BE A YOUNG IDOL: Attention, singers. Ever dream of performing at the Gallo Center for the Arts? You could get your chance, thanks to the Modesto Symphony Orchestra's Young Idol 2007 competition. The symphony, along with Vintage Faire Mall and The Bee, will hold auditions for young people who want to perform with the symphony at the new downtown venue. The hopefuls will audition Saturday at the mall's center court. Judges will call back the most promising performers and select finalists, who will record a demo at Modesto's Celestial Sounds Recording Studio. Then, the recordings, along with performance videos and short bios, will be placed online at www.modbee.com/youngidol. Readers will vote for who they think is the best, and the winner will be announced Nov. 17. In addition to singing at the symphony's Holiday Pops performance at the Gallo center in December, the winner will receive:

  • Limo service the night of the concert
  • Dinner for four at Bacchus restaurant
  • Complimentary concert tickets for family members
  • A spa package/makeover
  • A $100 gift card to Vintage Faire Mall
  • The chance to record his or her own CD for free

Participants must be younger than 18. Singers cannot take part if they have talent representation or a recording contract. Though singers can simply show up and audition (on a first-come basis), advance registration is appreciated. Go to www.modestosymphony.org or www.modbee.com/youngidol. Deadline for advance registration is 5 p.m. today. For more information, call the symphony at 523-4156.

Riverbank

UNIVERSITY WOMEN FILM FUND-RAISER: Hors d'oeuvres, wine, cider and the film "Waitress" have been arranged by the American Association of University Women's Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon branch on Oct. 21 at Galaxy 12 Theaters, 2525 Patterson Road. Tickets are $20 in advance, call 838-2495, and $25 at the door. The event starts at 4 p.m. with the film at 5 p.m. "The Waitress" is about a young woman who is unhappy in her marriage. She tries to escape her joyless life by winning a pie-baking contest. Besides seeing the film, attendees can enter drawings for baskets of prizes with themes such as gardening, spa, and just nuts. The film matinee is the main fund-raiser for the AAUW and helps sponsor its scholarship and mentoring program. The group sends as many as 10 girls to a math and science camp called Tech Trek at California State University, Fresno, for a week during the summer before they enter eighth grade. There they experience hands-on science, including a simulated space flight. The girls are eligible to apply for a four-year scholarship from the AAUW when they are ready for college. The AAUW also raises money for the Educational Foundation, which provides scholarships for women, and for the Legal Advocacy Fund, which supports women in sexual bias court cases.

Stevinson

CASINO NIGHT: The Hilmar-Stevinson Ag Boosters will hold their annual Dinner and Casino Night on Saturday at the Double T Ranch. Social hour starts at 6, followed by a New York strip steak dinner at 7, and the casino will be open until about 10. After the casino closes, chips will be exchanged for tickets to a drawing for prizes. Tickets are $25 per person and include dinner and $50 worth of casino chips. Table sponsorships are available for $100 and include two dinner tickets, chips and advertising. Prize donations for the drawing are welcomed. The event will feature a Texas Hold 'em Tournament. Signups for the tournament are limited and will take place only at the door the night of the event. Spots are available for $40. The proceeds from this event benefit the youth of the Hilmar FFA and 4-H programs for scholarships and leadership conferences. For tickets, sponsorships, prize donations or information, call the Hilmar High School Agriculture Department at 667-8366.

Merced

HISPANIC HERITAGE DAYS: The city's Hispanic Heritage Celebration will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Merced Open Air Theater at Applegate Park. There will be Aztec and folklore dancers, mariachis and other musicians, games, clowns, bounce houses, piñatas, and lots of history. Contact Vielka Martinez at Parks and Community Services, 564-0591.

FIREFIGHTER CAUSE: Merced City Firefighters Association IAFF Local 1479 will battle a different type of course Sept. 28 during the golf tournament fund-raiser. The Merced firefighters will take on the challenge of raising funds for the Firefighters Burn Institute in Sacramento. The tournament will begin at 1 p.m. at Pheasant Run Golf Club, 19 Clubhouse Drive, Chowchilla. The $90 entry fee includes a pasta and steak dinner, golf cart, range balls, five raffle tickets and a T-shirt. The Merced City Firefighters Association is looking for businesses to sponsor holes during the tournament. For a minimum donation of $150, each sponsor will have a sign placed at a random hole during the tournament. For more information, contact Jeremy Franklin at 756-1853 or Don Roe at 725-9015.

Salida

YOUNG READERS NOTED: The Stanislaus Reading Council will hold its annual Fall Kick-off featuring Armin Schulz discussing this year's California Young Reader Medal nominees. The event is Tuesday at the Salida Library from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The cost is $30 for nonmembers and free for members of SRC. RSVP to lydag5158@aol.com.

Denair

PARENT WORKSHOP: There will be a parent workshop on Asperger's syndrome and autism spectrum disorders Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to noon at Gateway Community Church, 3350 Lester Road. The workshop is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Teresa Anna Segura at 632-4795 or Mrssegura@sbcglobal.net.

Send Region items to Region, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; call 578-2330; fax 578-2207; or e-mail region@modbee.com.

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