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Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti Roars into Town on May 18

American Grafitti - Downtown Petaluma

The theme of the American Graffiti celebration on May 16-18 is, “Where Were You in ’62?” That refers to the 1962 time frame of the iconic movie about the cruising and rock-and-roll culture of Modesto, Calif., back then.

Instead of Modesto, however, most of the memorable scenes in George Lucas’ timeless, coming-of-age movie were filmed right here in Petaluma in June and July of 1972. So each year, the town is transformed into a festival of flat tops, dancin’ the bop, peggin’ your jeans, and of course, gorgeous classic cars.

Now in its eighth anniversary, there’s some exciting news to add to the event this time around. After a 40-year disappearance, the “Curt’s Citroen” has been found. This is the car that a leading character in the movie drove, a 2CV that made him stand apart from the more usual Chevy, Ford, Plymouth, and Dodge (and even an Edsel here and there) brands that were coveted during the time.

Sad to say, the car was painted over by a previous owner, who inexplicably said he hated the movie. But investigators following the paper trail insist that it’s the correct vehicle, and so the event organizers have been working hard to see that the car will be on display at Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti.

Make sure you come for the "Cruise" on May 18 from 4-9pm: Watch as 350+ cars cruise the boulevard.

Even if shiny cars don’t excite you, there’s plenty of fun for everyone in store at the massive street fair that takes over downtown. Thousands of spectators jam the streets (though there’s plenty of quiet nooks and crannies, too, on the side streets and back towards the peaceful river behind the shops).

The family-friendly gathering is a non-alcoholic affair, so bring the kids, and embarrass the heck out of them with your impersonations of greasers.

Entry to the festival is free, and you can feel good about purchasing raffle tickets and such, since the event benefits local community projects including schools, arts, history, and town safety programs.

Details: www.americangraffiti.net

Click here for the American Graffiti Schedule of Events.

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