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Next mural taking shape this weekend
Dave Gordon’s rendering of the mural “Manteca Snow” being painted by volunteers this weekend on Manteca Avenue across from Library Park. - photo by Photo Contributed
Micky Carroll and Diego Juarez are going to play in “Manteca Snow” this weekend.

The two young cousins are among three Manteca kids picked to have their likenesses grace the next community mural project that’s being painted by volunteers this weekend during the Manteca Pumpkin Fair.

“Manteca Snow” is a tribute to the annual rite of nature that occurs in mid to late February when the almond trees burst into blossoms of white and little pink and ultimately fall gently to the ground to leave a blanket of “snow.”

The Manteca Mural Society, mural artist Dave Gordon, and guest artist E.E. Yates are busy prepping the wall on the 100 block of Manteca Avenue across from Library Park. Volunteers will paint the mural Saturday and Sunday allowing those attending the Pumpkin Fair to view the work as it progresses.

Gordon’s design involves gigantic window that looks out on an almond orchard in full bloom. The three kids are having a great time playing in the “snow” while there are whimsical touches such as a finch, a beehive, and a coffee cup.

“I remember first coming to Manteca in the spring of 1977 and seeing the blossoms in bloom,” said Tom Wilson of the mural society. “It is a compelling and beautiful sight to anyone who sees it for the first time.”

The idea to do a mural depicting almond blossoms is credited to society member Jana Kattenhorn.

“She’s a relatively new comer to Manteca,” Wilson said. “She’s one of our Del Webb residents. She even came up with the name ‘Manteca Snow’ and it’s stuck.”

Gordon has painted more than 60 murals throughout the United States since 1980 including “Crossroads” and “Cruising” on Main Street in Manteca. He also designed and oversaw the painting of three of the four previous community murals including “Free for All” on South Maple, “Cow-munity” in the 200 block of West Yosemite, and “Pitching Pumpkins” in the 100 block of North Main.

Gordon said the growing number of murals reflects  Manteca’s commitment to culture and the arts noting you don’t see murals of the quality in Manteca in larger nearby valley cities such as Stockton and Modesto.

“People going through here on the way to Yosemite aren’t expecting world class murals in Manteca,” Gordon said.

Gordon said murals should give people an idea of the place as well as the culture of a community.

They also should – and do – mean different things to different people.

Gordon said someone may view the “Cruising” mural as their favorite mural because they remember owning a car depicted in it or they may find themselves liking the mural being painted this weekend the most because of their personal experience with the almond blossom season in Manteca.

Volunteers are being sought this Saturday and Sunday to work on the mural. You need to complete a sign-up form in advance and participate in a meeting with master artist Dave Gordon on Friday 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.