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‘Snow’ in Pumpkin Fair forecast

Community mural depicts almond blossoms

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‘Snow’ in Pumpkin Fair forecast

A gigantic window will frame the "Manteca Snow" community mural that is being painted during the upcoming Manteca Pumpkin Fair.

Rendering contributed/

POSTED September 15, 2009 3:55 a.m.

Get ready for some Manteca snow to fall during the Manteca Pumpkin Fair.

The “snow” in question is the white and light pink almond blossoms that blanket the Manteca countryside the last week in February each year like clockwork. It’s the subject of the Manteca Mural Society’s fifth Mural in a Weekend project taking place Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4.

It is going on the wall of a building along Manteca Avenue directly across from Library Park.

The somewhat whimsical design depicts a large front room window opening up to an orchard ablaze in almond blossoms. There is a light dusting of fallen blossoms on the brilliant green grass while two children frolic looking heavenward with outstretched arms. Adding to the fun is a yellow bird perched on the window sill from the inside of the house.

The society is looking for volunteers 16 years and older to help paint the mural over the two-day period. Visitors to the Pumpkin Fair will be able to see the daily progress.

It will be the fifth mural painted by volunteers. The other four also happen to represent agriculture and the rural lifestyle. The first community mural was “Pitching Pumpkins” in the 100 block of North Main Street. The other three are “The Cow-munity Mural” in the 200 block of West Yosemite Avenue, “Free-for-All” depicting a kids playing in and around a barn in the 100 block of South Maple, and “The Bountiful Valley” found in the 100 block of Sycamore Avenue. All of the existing murals are visible to those attending the Pumpkin Fair. They are in addition to five other murals in the downtown district including “Cruising” in the 100 block of North Main, “Sierra Crown” in the 200 block of East Yosemite, “Crossroads 1918)” in the 100 block of South Main, “Rotary” in the 100 block of North Maple, and “San Francisco” in the 200 block of West Yosemite.

Volunteers need to complete a sign-up form in advance and participate in a meeting with master artist Dave Gordon on Friday, Oct. 2. at 6 p.m. at a location to be announced. Forms are available by contacting either the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau at 823-7229 or Gayl Wilson at 483-8187.

The Manteca Mural Society was inspired during Tom and Gayl Wilson’s vacation nearly a decade ago on Vancouver Island in British Columbia when they discovered the drawing power of murals.

It was in a town where the lumber industry had been the major economic engine before its decline. One store owner commissioned a mural depicting the dying industry. Another store owner followed suit. Eventually there were more than a dozen murals.

The murals ended up becoming a big drawing card for the town and the merchants revamped their business to cater to the tourist trade.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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