TOPPENISH, Wash. -- The community and a congregation of artists will gather in Pioneer Park on Saturday for the city of Toppenish’s annual Mural-In-A-Day event.
This year’s mural will be painted on one of the newly remodeled buildings for the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, across the street from Pioneer Park and the fire department.
The city has more than 70 murals; this one will be a remake of the 60th mural, “El Sarape,” which was lost last year when the building was remodeled.
The new mural will look to redefine the original, said Paul Newman, executive director for the Toppenish Mural Society.
The mural will differ slightly from the original: It will be painted by a group of artists instead of one and will be on a different size wall.
The event starts Friday at 6 p.m. with a steak feed hosted by the Lions Club; cost is $14 per person. On Saturday morning, the club will host a breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. for $6, said Mike Mayer, a member of the Lions Club.
Mural painting is set to take place from around 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a variety of vendors will be set up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Horse-drawn wagon tours of murals around town will also be available the day of the mural painting starting at 10 a.m.
Driving his team of horses across Toppenish — something he’s done since 1989, the year the first mural was painted — Jim Duke will give locals and visitors a detailed tour of the various murals.
“His favorite part is talking to the people. People come from all over the world that have heard of the Toppenish murals. ... Toppenish is a lot more famous than people realize,” said Joan Duke, Jim’s wife.
The Farm Workers Clinic plans to open the new facility Saturday, and in the evening, the Liberty Theatre will host a Toppenish all-class reunion.
Mural-In-A-Day helps to unite the community and tell its history, said Newman.
“It’s kind of what Toppenish has grown to represent: murals and Americana over a 100-year time frame,” Newman said. “All these murals have to revolve around Toppenish or things connected to Toppenish. It’s fun to see it all come together.”
The murals are about more than a painting, said Joan Duke.
“They’re not just painted pictures. They tell the story of an event that happened in the area,” she said.