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Seventh grader partners with her dad to find the hidden pumpkin near library
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Manteca Bulletin Advertising Manager Chuck Higgs presents a check for $100 to Golden West School seventh grader Julia Vigallon and her dad John who found this weeks hidden Halloween pumpkin near the Almond Blossom mural across from Library Park. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Julia Vigallon and her dad John were quick to find this week’s hidden pumpkin in the Manteca Bulletin’s Great Pumpkin Hunt behind the old city hall on Sycamore Avenue near a mural depicting an almond orchard full of blossoms.

One of the clues mentioned “a window on Manteca.” The Golden West School seventh grader  and her dad were a team that recognized the mural had been painted in a window frame overlooking Manteca Avenue.  And they also believed that the “go nuts” clue related to the nut sales vendor who they’d seen at that location during past farmers’ markets as well as the almond crop in the mural. It actually was a reference to the almond trees in the mural.

They picked up a Sunday paper before 4 a.m. at a rack at a service station at the corner of Powers and Yosemite avenues.  Julia said they went home and studied the clues before they took to the road again.  They would find the pumpkin in about 20 minutes, they noted.

Areas they checked included the skate park and the Verizon telephone building on West Center Street until they recognized the connection with the “phon-y” clue and remembered that the phone company was once next to the old city hall on Sycamore Avenue centering their focus on that location.

They were also aware of the baseball murals on the bathrooms at Library Park.

The two were questioned by people “hanging out” at the park in the predawn hours as to what they were doing with flashlights.  Cops were inquisitive too, they said.

“We were so excited when we found it,” Julia said.  “We were yelling and screaming.”

They attempted to find a hidden pumpkin last year as well but noted they always seemed to be just a minute or two late.  Julia made an effort to inform others searching for the gourd by leaving a message on a coffee can where the pumpkin had been found.  It told of their find so others wouldn’t continue their searches.

Clues for a chance to win $100 in the Pumpkin Hunt’s fourth week will appear in Sunday’s Manteca Bulletin.