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From wine & cheese, chocolate to classic car cruising
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Got a thing for classic cars?
How about chocolate? And cheese? And places that where you can truly enjoy the small-town feeling that communities in the Central Valley are famous for?
You’re in luck.
With Modesto’s Graffiti Summer just around the corner, lots of smaller valley enclaves are getting ready to take advantage of the sunshine and beautiful weather to honor the things that matter most to the people who live there.
If you’re looking to fill out your calendar with fun, family-friendly events over the course of the next few months, here are some things that you’re definitely going to want to circle and make sure you don’t miss:
uGraffiti Summer 2016 – Now while there are lots of places that have weekend festivals that honor the town’s legacy and their chief export, nobody quite does it the same way that Modesto does. On June 4 the nearly month-long festival kicks off with a screening of American Graffiti at Modesto’s State Theater – where patrons dress up in their favorite 50s attire and slurp down root beer floats while singing along to the classic soundtrack. The following day, on June 5, the Modesto Street Rod Association holds its annual American Graffiti Classic Car Show at the McHenry Village Shopping Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Mid Valley Chevy Club tours the city from June 6-9 with a different show each night at different locations around town. The City of Modesto will then induct a new person into the Walk of Fame, and on June 11 original members of The Kingsmen, The Surfaris, and Token will be performing at The Gallo Center. The actual American Graffiti Car Show and Festival, starts on June 10 with the 6:30 p.m. car show through the streets of Downtown Modesto and is followed on Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12, at the Modesto Municipal Golf Course at 400 Tuolumne Boulevard – a festival with hundreds of food and vendor booths, car shows and live music. A full listing of the festivities can be found by visiting and clicking on the calendar.
uOakdale Chocolate Festival – It wasn’t that long ago that you could take a tour of the Hershey’s Plant in Oakdale and walk out with two freshly made Hershey’s bars. The historic chocolate manufacturer might be gone – replaced by another company, Sconza, that took advantage of Hershey’s departure and moved right in to the old facility – but Oakdale’s lineage and history with the plant remains forever tied through the annual May celebration. This year, on May 21 and 22, the streets of Downtown Oakdale at Wood Park will be filled with crafts vendors, food booths and music stages that bring thousands of people to the historic district. And quaint doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. At least 75 percent of the arts and crafts vendors peddle their homemade wares, and the combination of a car show, a fun run and live music gives families and those looking for a good time the entertainment needed to make the weekend memorable. Additional information, including forms for those wishing to participate, can be found at
uRiverbank Cheese and Wine Festival – This one falls a little bit later in the year – taking place on October 8 and 9 for the 2016 incarnation. But with a massive explosion in the popularity of wine and wine pairings, the festival has become immensely popular with people looking to sample some of the best regional wines that California has to offer. Admission is free and wine tastings are only $20, and the family friendly event, which will be celebrating its 40th year, will have something for everybody – offering a full street fair in line with what people have come to expect from valley towns. For more information visit

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.