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Light pole fruit being dressed up by G'view merchant

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Jeff Dixon (L), owner of Auto Mania in Grandview, has been working since November to repaint 41 large metal fruit cutouts that hang from the light poles along Wine Country Road in Grandview. Dixon, shown here with his son Jeffrey Dixon Jr., 17, said he hopes to have all of the pieces painted in the next month, just in time for spring.

GRANDVIEW - Driving into Grandview along Wine Country Road there are many sights to take in, from the green grass that runs along either side of the pathway to the light posts that line the street. However, for the past few months something has been missing.

Approximately five years ago the City of Grandview went through the work of putting up giant metal fruit cutouts on each of the light posts that runs from one end of Wine Country Road to the other. For the past few months these four-foot-high pieces of fruit have been missing.

Mike Carpenter, Grandview parks and recreation director, said after having the fruit up on the poles exposed to the elements for several years, the weather began to take its toll.

That's when the decision was made to take the metal fruit cutouts down from the light poles, have them sandblasted and get them ready to be repainted. Carpenter said when it came time to find someone to work on repainting the fruit, which includes green and red apples, green and purple grape varieties, as well as both Bing and Rainier cherries, the city looked to Jeff Dixon of Auto Mania. Carpenter explained that Dixon helped with the project when it was originally done several years before.

Carpenter said the city purchased approximately $500 in paints and supplies and Dixon has donated his time painting the fruit during off hours at his shop.

Dixon said when he originally worked on the fruit cutouts all he did was finish them up with a few highlights and a clear coat. This time around Dixon is doing all of the painting himself.

When Dixon received the 41 fruit cutouts they had been completely sandblasted, leaving him to come up with paint designs for each of the different fruit varieties.

Dixon said he has been working on painting the pieces since November, spending his spare time getting the fruit ready to be put back up on the light poles.

When it comes to painting each of the pieces, Dixon said he takes it one variety at a time. He explained that first he took two of the apples, painted one red and one green. Then he worked to make templates for each, so that all of the red and green apples he painted would look similar. Then he went to work actually painting the front and back of each of the apple cutouts. Dixon said it took him about seven and half hours to finish the remaining apples once the first two were created.

"They're just gorgeous," Carpenter said of the apples Dixon has already painted. "They look like they are ready to be eaten."

Dixon said he hopes to have all of the fruit painted and ready to be rehung in about a month, just in time for spring. Carpenter said when the pieces are completed they will be returned to their place along the Wine Country Road corridor. He noted that five of the pieces are used as decorations around the stage at the fairgrounds in Grandview.

Dixon, who has operated Auto Mania in Grandview since 1985, said he decided to lend a helping hand with the project because he feels it's important that businesses give something back.

"A business should be able to give back to the community," Dixon said.

. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at eolmstead@eaglenewspapers.com

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