Kids swarmed to the sidewalk when Joel Mendenhall drove his 1966 white Ford Mustang convertible around corner of Northeast Diamond Lake Boulevard and Northeast Jackson Street.
“They saw me come through earlier with candy. My grandson was throwing it, so that’s why the kids are running up,” Mendenhall said.
He’s been driving in the Saturday night Graffiti cruise for the past nine years.
“I always come to Graffiti, ever since I was a little kid. I always wanted to be involved in it,” Mendenhall said. “Once I did I was addicted. It’s a total rush.”
The 38th Annual Umpqua Flatheads Roseburg Graffiti Night Cruise started at 6 p.m. Saturday, led by the Timberland Corvette Club and followed by hundreds of classic cars from 1975 and older. The air was filled with car exhaust and the sound of drivers revving their engines.
Larry and Helen Wagner, of Roseburg, are a part of the Timberland Corvette Club and drove their 2007 yellow Corvette through at the beginning of the cruise. They said this is their 20th year experiencing Graffiti Weekend.
“It amazes me how many people come out and watch,” Helen Wagner said.
Groups of people lined the streets with lawn chairs while they watched the cars drive down the streets.
Kaitlyn McMahan, of Roseburg, said she grew up in the area and would watch the cruise from her driveway when she was a kid. Now, she and her family of four watch the cruise from the street.
Her son Carson, 7, said his favorite part of the event is the candy thrown from the cars. Last year he said he went home with a large bag full of treats.
“It was a big big bag, and I had lots and lots,” Carson said.
Leon Marcal, of Green, said he and his family always scope out the same spot for watching the cruise. He said he always wished he had a car to drive in the parade.
“I used to have one, back when they weren’t classics,” Marcal said.
The cruise attracted crowds from outside the Roseburg area as well. Gayle and Larry Beiniek drove all the way from Cottage Grove to watch the cruise this year. They said this is their first year watching the cruise and have always loved classic cars.”
“It’s a lot of fun just to see the old cars, what they do to them, how they fix them,” Larry Beiniek said. “I saw about five different cars yesterday that I used to own.”
Gayle Beiniek said she likes seeing cars from her childhood and adolescent years.
“It’s memories. When we were teenagers, so-and-so had that kind and I had that kind,” Gayle Beiniek said.
Mendenhall said the Graffiti Cruise is one of the biggest events in Douglas County.
“It’s just a thrill. It’s great to have people look at your car that you worked on and cleaned it up and keep it sharp,” Mendenhall said. “When you have a classic car you always find yourself driving very defensively. Because people will see it and they’ll lose track of what they’re looking at.”