From out of the past, old but restored cars will roll into central Douglas County this week for the 2014 Graffiti Weekend, the 33rd annual event.
Classic car collectibles and hot rods, dating back to the early days of the automobile industry, will be featured. It is estimated 1,000 drivers will steer their vintage vehicles into and around the area.
Last year’s Umpqua Flatheads Roseburg Graffiti Night Cruise was one of the biggest ever, with about 700 participants, organizers said.
“Everything is on track like it has been in years past,” said Mitch Doss, chairman of the Graffiti Weekend organizing committee. “A lot of these volunteers have been doing this for 33 years and they make it go like clockwork.
“Graffiti is one of those established events in Douglas County that is a good time,” he added, “It brings in quite a few people from out of the area.”
Doss is expecting Saturday’s Show-N-Shine at River Forks Park to attract over 500 cars again and for the Saturday cruise in downtown Roseburg to have about 700 rolling participants.
The cars will date back to the 1910s. They’ll shine and represent every color in the crayon box.
“Everything seems to be proceeding along well,” said Don Larson of the organization for this week’s events. Larson is a retiring charter member of the Graffiti Weekend organizing committee.
“It was a wild idea to see if we could help get some people here, to see if we could help the economy,” Larson said of the original idea behind Graffiti. “I think we have succeeded. We get a lot of thanks yous, both from people who come here to it and from people and businesses around town.
“We want to thank the sponsors in town, the Roseburg people,” he added. “They back it up to make it an affordable weekend. They keep costs down for people coming to town. You don’t have to pay to attend and enjoy the events.”
What started as a simple idea between a couple of local car clubs has grown into an event that draws about 20,000 spectators and participants over its five-day run. That first weekend began with two events, the Show-N-Shine at River Forks Park and the night cruise on Harvard Avenue. The weekend has grown into a five-day extravaganza featuring about 20 events.
Because younger members enjoy working on muscle cars from the mid-70s, the cutoff date was changed a couple years ago from 1972 to 1975.
The Saturday night cruise is scheduled for 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Dave Owens of the Umpqua Flatheads said the event draws many volunteers who put up and take down barricades, sell T-shirts and otherwise help out.
“We depend on our volunteers,” he said.
About 70 percent of the cars registered at the Show-N-Shine come from outside Douglas County. That event is presented by the Stray Angels Car Club of Roseburg.
Graffiti Weekend had its first run in 1982, with participants and spectators reliving the 1950s by cruising a small fleet of classic cars down Harvard Avenue.
Now, each summer, hundreds gather downtown to join the founders of the Graffiti Night Cruise in remembering a simpler time.
Since those early days, the cruise has grown into one of Douglas County’s most noteworthy events, chock-full of hot rods, barbecues and other family entertainment.
One addition to this week’s list of activities is the Wellspring Come-N-Shine-Go in the Wellspring Bible Fellowship parking lot at the corner of Garden Valley Boulevard and Kline Street from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday. The event will feature a free barbecue, beverages and live entertainment.
One deletion from the schedule is the swap meet that was held at the corner of Garden Valley and Melrose roads last year.
The Graffiti Weekend events coincide with Collector Car Appreciation Day on Friday. The appreciation day is an annual celebration to raise awareness of the role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. The day was first recognized in 2010.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association, the Automotive Restoration Market Organization and Hot Rod Industry Alliance Councils spearheaded the effort to acknowledged the importance of the automobile in American culture as the inspiration for much music, literature, photography, cinema, fashion and other artistic pursuits.
More details on Graffiti Weekend can be found online at graffitiweekend.com.
• News-Review Features Editor Craig Reed can be reached by calling 541-957-4210 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.