NOTE: This was published 5 years ago but still holds true. Folks all over Oregon and beyond love Graffiti weekend!
Over thirty years ago a few local car clubs joined together to relive the 50’s by cruising classic cars through a main area of town. It was a one night event that now lasts the better part of a week, growing from one event per year to fifteen. Our little burg fills up with shiny Chevys, Fords, Plymouths and cars I’ve never heard of. Starting tomorrow, Graffiti Weekend events will go on daily through Sunday. My family loves it.
Even before we had “Betty Lou” (our ’58 Chevy Bel Air) we found ourselves planning our vacations around this week. When my girls were little they wore poodle skirts, pony tails and saddle shoes to get into the spirit of the Saturday night cruise. We planted ourselves on a curb on Jackson street, usually in front of a restaurant we like, waiting for the rumble of the motors. My husband would point out cars he once had. I showed him the ones I wanted. If we were really lucky we would spot someone we knew cruising so we could ride the loop.
We have met great people over the years. It’s more than the love for cars that brings folks together, it’s the sense of community. All of the different car clubs sponsor various events with most of the proceeds going to charity. Every year we do something a little different except two events. The cruise of course is the highlight but there is one we find just as fun but more fulfilling: the Retirement Home Cruise.
Cars line up in a local parking lot to make the rounds at various retirement, nursing and assisted living facilities. The residents often meet us in the parking lot to walk up the aisle of memories. Many will stop to tell stories of owning a car just like ours. Their eyes glisten as they recount tales from a different time. It’s beautiful.
This year we’ll have family in town. It’ll be a great way to show them this place we love so much. A place where our children have grown up with this tradition for years and are bringing their tinies along for the ride. All too soon they’ll be the ones remembering the nights where exhaust and laughter mingled in the air. They’ll show off their favorites and it will be beautiful too.