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Graffiti Celebration Roars Into Riverbank
Riverbank resident Terry Barrett shows off his 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air on Thursday in the parking lot at Cool Hand Luke’s. He was part of the large group of classic car owners that came to town as the local Graffiti Summer celebration arrived in Riverbank for an evening. Ric McGinnis/The News - photo by Ric McGinnis/ The News
hot rods
Everywhere one looks it’s cars, trucks and the occasional classic piece of road equipment on display, officially in the parking lot of Cool Hand Luke’s restaurant, but technically stretching along the wall behind the Galaxy Theatres and out to the edge of Highway 108/Patterson Road. The Thursday show was a sliver of the official Graffiti Summer celebration, based mostly in Modesto. Ric McGinnis/The News - photo by Ric McGinnis/ The News

School’s out and it’s time for a cruise, and last week, on Thursday, the cruise came to Riverbank.

Yes, part of the Graffiti Summer celebration that takes over downtown Modesto this time of year spilled over to the City of Action on June 7, with crowds ... and cars ... and crowds of cars ... filling the parking lot at Cool Hand Luke’s. The show spilled over a bit, to in front of the IMAX Theatre and along the wall behind the Galaxy Theatres building on Highway 108/Patterson Road.

With all the vehicles being on display, there was hardly any room for spectators to park. So, in addition to the classic and hot rod cars and trucks parked on display, those arriving later rolled up and down the aisles, trying to find their own little niche. And as some left, others arrived to fill the vacated parking spot.

The mini, Riverbank edition of the cruise (actually a ‘park’) was part of the larger celebration of the movie “American Graffiti,” co-written and directed by Modesto native George Lucas. The film celebrates the joy of school getting out for the summer and the traditional cruise along McHenry Avenue.

Hosted by the Mid-Valley Chevy Club, the week also featured events at several other locations over the course of four nights. Shows ran Monday through Thursday, June 4 through 7, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., kicking off at American Chevrolet on McHenry Avenue in Modesto on Monday. The classics then motored on to the Vintage Faire Mall on Dale Road for the Tuesday night gathering and were in downtown Modesto at the 10th Street Plaza for Wednesday night. All that was before the Cool Hand Luke’s show on Thursday evening rounded out the week of classic car shows to help kick off the Graffiti Summer festivities.