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Graffiti Festivities

The pandemic may have stalled last year’s festivities but local car clubs, vendors and other participants are revving up for Graffiti Summer 2021 in Modesto. The annual extravaganza returns to downtown Modesto with the same traditional festivities and a few new ones. Fans and families can enjoy classic cars from many car clubs including: Modesto Area Street Rod Association, Mid-Valley Chevy Club, the Faros, and many others. The efforts that they put into their vehicles are always on point. From sleek lines, roaring motors, polish and wax jobs; their hard work and pride will be on display for all to appreciate.

There was a collaboration of different groups that met in January to discuss the possibility of hosting a Graffiti summer this year and what that would look like including the Graffiti parade and festival chairs, the North Modesto Kiwanis Club, Visit Modesto, MASRA, and Mid-Valley Chevy Club. 

Visit Modesto’s CEO Todd Aaronson explained that in March they really started looking at dates to hold the festivities and began working with the City of Modesto to determine how they could relaunch the Graffiti summer and all the festivities. 

“At the end of March we were looking at August as a potential time,” said Aaronson. “The car clubs all looked at the master calendars throughout the west and then we found dates that might work, made a proposal to the City of Modesto that they tentatively accepted pending any other government restrictions, and they have been great to work with. It has been a regular and consistent process amongst all of us for several months getting ready for Graffiti summer again and then we have added a lot of special events around it as well.”

Kicking off the festivities will be the annual Graffiti Classic Car Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 15, presented by MASRA at the McHenry Village Shopping Center. At 2 p.m. that day there will be a showing of the classic film “American Graffiti” at the State Theatre. 

Mid-Valley Chevy Club Park ‘n Shine will be held at multiple locations, on Aug. 16 at the Century Center in downtown Modesto; on Aug. 17 at Vintage Faire Mall; on Aug. 18 at Cool Hand Luke’s in Riverbank; and on Aug. 19 at 10th Street Plaza. For more information and times visit

Moband will host a concert in the park once again. Admission is free for guests at the Mancini Bowl at Graceada Park from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 18.

On Aug. 19 there will be a Cruise Walk of Fame Celebration in downtown Modesto. 

The North Modesto Kiwanis Classic Car Parade will cruise through downtown Modesto on Aug. 20. The parade will feature a multitude of classic cars, hot rods, and street rods and starts at 5:30 p.m. On Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 the club will host their annual American Graffiti car show at the Modesto Municipal Golf Course from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

A new event added to the lineup of festivities is the Furiously Fast Weekend starting on Aug. 26 through Aug. 29 at the State Theatre. The first eight films of the “Fast and Furious” franchise will be shown over the four days for one price. For more information, visit 

“So it is one price, eight films four days,” noted Aaronson. “People will be able to buy a pass for the whole weekend and go to any movie they want or all the movies or they can buy each movie individually depending on what their speed is. Then we are working with other car clubs to do pop ups that weekend with contemporary cars and much more energetic modern vehicles attracting a different car audience, but a lot of car audiences crossover.”

The “Grease” sing-a-long tradition returns to the State Theatre from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 28.

Music is a huge part of Modesto culture and they are contemplating a music festival for free in downtown Modesto slated on Aug. 28 as an added event during the Furiously Fast weekend. 

Aaronson has been the CEO with Visit Modesto for the past two years but has participated in the Graffiti summer for the past 16 years. 

“Modesto is a community made up of a lot of different things,” said Aaronson. “Our history is vast from agriculture to car culture to river rafting to murals and celebrating each component of what makes Modesto great is critically important not just for our community but to tell the world.” 

The calendar is being updated on a regular basis so for more information visit or