At five minutes before 6 p.m., seven vintage camping trailers pulled by seven vintage cars and trucks started the parade. Then it was as if the floodgates opened and the cars of decades past poured on through downtown Roseburg Saturday night.
It was the 37th Annual Umpqua Flatheads Roseburg Graffiti Night Cruise.
It was all there, from ‘70s Camaros to ‘60s Impalas to ‘50s Bel Airs. Some dated back to decades before.
Crowds lined Southeast Jackson Street, and the weather cooperated beautifully, with sunny skies and a warm 82-degree evening.
Lee Johnson of Newport was visiting friends in Roseburg. He said he’s partial to the ‘55, ‘56 and ‘57 Chevy, as well as ‘32 Fords, the cars he’s owned in the past.
The first car he ever owned was a ‘32 Ford. It didn’t go so well.
“I was too young and too broke to afford the insurance,” he said. Still he loved the car.
“If I’d have kept every old car I bought when I was younger, I’d be rich,” he said.
He still has a ‘55 Chevy he’s working on, that he hopes to drive in next year’s Graffiti Night Cruise.
“I have to do it pretty soon, or I’ll be too old to drive,” he said.
Johnson’s friend Pat Popham of Roseburg said she enjoys seeing all the cars, but it’s the colors she likes best.
“I like the ones with the metallics and more detailed paint jobs,” she said.
She hopes to have a 1960 MGA in next year’s show, and said her husband was working on it.
Hannah Parker of Roseburg was working traffic control with her son as a fundraiser for Journey Roseburg Church. The money goes to its children’s program. It wasn’t the cars that were uppermost in 6-year-old Gabe Parker’s mind, though.
“I’m just waiting until they send out the candy,” he said. He said he likes AirHeads candy the best.
“I’ll eat them really fast,” he said.
Some Jo Lane Middle School kids were selling water and candy bars as a fundraiser for their class trip to Washington, D.C.
Mom Deanna Dotson said her daughter Tessa Dotson sold a lot at the Show-n-Shine at River Forks Park earlier in the day.
“The timing is very good,” she said.
Rita Peck of Myrtle Creek said she comes to Graffiti every year.
“I just like checking out the old cars. It’s just a tradition,” she said.
She said she sees cars that she’d love to have.
“It would be kind of fun to fix one up from the ground,” she said.
Sisters Yvette Bernard and Breanna Roop of Glide sat on the sidewalk to watch the parade. Bernard said the family had a ‘55 Chevy Bel Air in past parades.
“We’re always exited to see our friends who have cars do well,” she said.
She said the rat rods are her favorite.
“Old cars that are not painted nice, they’re all rusty and old. I don’t know, I just like them better,” she said.
Roop, on the other hand, was all about the paint job. What she wanted to see was “anything turquoise,” she said.
Jerry Robertson of Redding, California, was visiting his mother Barbara Robertson, who lives in Roseburg. He said his favorite car is the Cobra, and his second favorite is the Dodge Challenger.
He was also enjoying his view of a banana yellow Impala, probably a 1965 model he thought, parked across the street in front of the Mariachi Loco restaurant. Heis first car was a ‘64 Impala, he said.
“It was nice. I thought it was great,” he said.
“They bring back memories,” he said.
“BEWARE OF ATTACK ARMADILLO” reads the sign on the dash of a 1936 Chevrolet pickup. A registration form on the car marks the owner jokingly as “Rufus McDoofus,” but his real name is Gary Honeycutt of Dallas, Oregon. Because of its custom-made winged armadillo hood ornament on the front, he’s named his truck of 13 years The Flying Armadillo.
It’s just one of the hundreds of cars at the 36th Annual River Forks Show-N-Shine on Saturday at River Forks Park.
There were 420 cars in the show this year, but last year there were close to 600. Gail Kuntz, the show’s director, explained turnout was low because other shows were happening the same weekend in Florence, Grants Pass and other nearby towns.
This is Honeysutt’s third time at the Show-N-Shine. He explained that since moving to Oregon from Louisiana in 1992, a lot of folks have asked him about armadillos, which are native to his home state. Thus began his fascination with the rollable mammal. Retired and with nine grandkids, he’s made The Flying Armadillo his go-to vehicle.
“If you see me in Walmart, this will be in the parking lot,” Honeysutt said.
Todd Woodward of Oakland brought his 1933 Chevy Phaeton to the festival. He bought the yellow and purple hot rod with orange flames 12 years ago and has worked on it ever since. On Thursday he competed in the Burn Out competition at Backside Brewery in his 1950 Plymouth. He explained that he had some old tires and wanted to retire them in style and added that there is a large population of vintage car enthusiasts in the area.
“California’s where they said the hot rodding kind of started years and years ago, but it’s gone throughout the whole entire United States, Woodward said. “And we’ve got our fair share here for sure.”
Manufactured in England, Lauri Brownson’s white and green Nash Metropolitan was on display at the event. A native of Shady Cove, Oregon, she fell in love with the compact vehicle after seeing one in a parade back in the sixth grade. The vintage car was a gift from her husband Norm to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and the two restored it together. Today, Brownson owns ten Nash Metropolitans and is the President of the Cascade Metropolitan Club, a chapter of the Metropolitan Owners’ Club of North America.
“I don’t want them to be squished,” Brownson said about her the cars she’s saved from the scrap yard. “If people have their way, all the new cars are gonna obliterate all of the beautiful old cars and they just crush them because they’re just metal. And I want to keep the history alive and I want to keep the cars alive, and that’s what I do.”
Many like Honeycutt, Woodward and Brownson showed off their cars to those passing by at the show, telling the story of their prized possessions. Woodward explained that he enjoys the location of this show in particular and that’s what make it so special.
“It’s the setting. It’s beautiful, plenty of grass, plenty of trees, lot of nice cars, and a lot of really nice people,” Woodward said.