Adventuring In California – Graffiti Night

I’ve always felt that the place I grew up and now live was, and is a little odd.  I mean it’s in a pretty good location smack dab in the middle of California I’m literally about two hours away from much of the available awesomeness of California.  But still, this place is a little weird.  According to Forbes Magazine we were #2 in on the list of cities with the most stolen cars (Fresno is #1, go Fresno!), and the #5 most miserable city.  My first question is, what the hell are we doing on either list out of all of the cities in this country? I mean, I’ve been to lots of other places the seem much more miserable *ahem* Stockton.  Maybe the other cities just don’t report their stolen car numbers and/or fudge their miserable living conditions data. I just think it’s odd that Forbes would pay that much attention to the birthplace of American Graffiti; well, we can claim that because the movie is based on George Lucas growing up here.  I’m sure other places had a cruising culture, but none of them had a movie made about it.

I’d venture to guess most people in Modesto have a love hate relationship with Graffiti night every June.  Growing up cruising was still allowed down the main drag effectively splitting the town in half.  At some points you literally could not cross McHenry to get to the other side of town due to the volume of cars.  After years of people behaving inappropriately, drinking, littering, and peeing in public, the city banned cruising, though that didn’t really stop it, and now has a parade and car show instead.  This year marked the 15th anniversary of the parade and car show as well as the 40th anniversary of the release of the film so there were lots of people in town showing off their fancy, and not so fancy cars.

I loathe the cruising part of Graffiti weekend, mostly because it’s damn inconvenient, but I enjoy the cars.  So I ventured out to the car show yesterday, early before it got to be 105 degrees, and snapped some photos.  The event itself felt more like a poorly organized carnival with vendors selling all kinds of kitschy junk unrelated to cars, graffiti night and/or Modesto, and at least two music stages doing the chicken dance.  There was one cover band that was pretty cool, they wore black suits, skinny black ties and Mexican wrestling masks……but I digress.  On to the photos.

Going to car shows reminds me of the lack of style in modern car design, or at least style in the cars designed for the average Joe.  This trip I had a particular affinity for hood ornaments, grills, and headlights for some reason.


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