Kick up your wheels at Graffiti weekend

Gas up the car and check the stereo.

It's time to relive the days of rock 'n' roll and muscle cars as Modesto's annual Graffiti Summer celebration kicks into high gear this weekend.

MoBand got things rock 'n' rollin' with its first concert of the season last night. The crowd that gathered at Mancini Bowl in Graceada Park got into the spirit with the "Just Cruzin' " concert of 1950s and 1960s music.

Tonight, the festivities shift from the sounds of MoBand to the roar of classic cars, street rods and hot rods parading through downtown Modesto beginning at 7.

Cars must be from 1973 or earlier to be entered in the Kiwanis Classic Car Parade, which is expected to attract up to 800 cars of all shapes, sizes and horsepower ratings.

Then at 8 p.m., "John Mueller's Winter Dance Party: Relive the Day the Music Died" takes the stage at the State Theatre, 1307 J St. It's the re-creation of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper's final 1959 tour.

For those who miss the music and cars tonight, there's plenty more of both over the weekend.

The 12th annual American Graffiti Car Show and Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Modesto Junior College West Campus, 2201 Blue Gum Ave.

The North Modesto Kiwanis event will have hundreds of cars and motorcycles as well as food, crafts, specialty booths and bands. Taking the stage will be the Sensations, Fabulous Blue Notes, Skyline, Kyle Barker Band, The Hot Rods and Threshold. Local charities benefit from the event.

The two-day show will have a Ford display, a "for sale corral," the Dale Earnhardt No. 3 car and the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Talladega Super Speedway Championship car.

Some 8,000 people are expected to attend. General admission is $7 (Coupons for $2 off are available at Taco Bells) and is free for children 12 and younger.

Also Saturday, there will be a screening of George Lucas' "American Graffiti" at 7 p.m. at the State Theatre. Fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite character from the film. Prizes will be awarded.

The Summer Graffiti Beach Party concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Rogers Theater of the Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto.

Dean Torrence and his Surf City All Star Band will perform original Jan & Dean hits including "Surf City," "Dead Man's Curve" and "Little Old Lady From Pasadena," and Grammy-nominated surf band Papa Doo Run Run (made up of some former Beach Boys members) will perform such Beach Boys songs as "Surfin' Safari," "Little Deuce Coupe" and "Good Vibrations."

Other Graffiti Summer events include:

Every Friday and Saturday night all summer — A&W Summer Nights. A&W restaurant, 1404 G St., Modesto. Classic cars, Elvis, hula hoop contest, karaoke, and root beer floats served by carhops on roller skates.

June 18 — Modesto Nuts Graffiti Night. Watch the Modesto Nuts take on the Bakersfield Blaze. Enjoy '50s and '60s music and classic cars. $4-$12. 572-4487 or

June 19 — Back to Graffiti at the Fruit Yard. 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., The Fruit Yard, 7948 Yosemite Blvd., Modesto. Car show and DJs. Free. 577-3093 or

June 23 — Fifth annual Favorite Rides Car Show. 5-8 p.m., Riverbank Community Center, 3600 Sante Fe St.. Classic cars, new and project cars, trucks and motorcycles. Live music, food, children's games, farmers market. $10 car donation. 480-2271 or