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2009 4th Annual Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti

Check out the 2011 Petaluma American Graffiti Car Show information.

2009 Petaluma Salute to American Graffiti

wolfman and twins
Wolfman and Twins

Paradise Frates Road

American Graffiti T Birds
T Birds

32 Deuce
32 Deuce

It's a common misconception that American Graffiti was filmed in Modesto, California. The fact is that most of the memorable moments in this timeless 'coming of age' movie classic were filmed in Petaluma, California in 1972. Actress Candy Clark recalls, "It was summer, but it was really cold"...very typical of summer nights in this Northern California city that today remains the quintessential American "hometown". Regarded as one of George Lucas' best and certainly his most personal film, it earned four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Filming took just 28 nights and came in on budget.

In just three years, Petaluma's Salute to American Graffiti Celebration, which takes place on the same streets where the movie was filmed has become one of the premier and most sought to attend classic car events in Northern California. Registration for Salute 2009 is already full with cars from as far away as Colorado, Utah, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and throughout California. In 2008, visitors who specifically made the trip to attend came from all over California, 16 other states, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Sweden!

Like the movie, Petaluma evokes a time gone by with its turn-of-the-century brick and Ironfront buildings, stately Victorian homes and downtown riverfront. Incorporated in 1858 and located on U.S. Highway 101 just a 40 minute drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge, this historic gateway to the Redwood Empire, wild Sonoma and Mendocino coasts, and world-renown Sonoma and Napa wine countries is a very popular destination for visitors from around the world.

Perpetuating the film’s legacy and the essence 1960s Americana, Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti is a family-oriented, non-alcoholic, community-wide celebration that is produced by all-volunteer Cruisin' The Boulevard, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Net proceeds from each Salute support our own community programs including Petaluma Save-A-Life and the Henry Travers’ Scholarship Fund as well as the permanent American Graffiti exhibit at the Petaluma Historical Museum.

Free to spectators and visitors, Salute 2009 will have an all day and evening show and cruise featuring 300 American Classic cars and trucks, live bands and karaoke, street dancing, contests and games, street vendors, cool American Graffiti collectibles, great food and more.

Salute 2009 will also feature our re-creation of Mel’s Burger City, the drive-in restaurant depicted in the movie where everyone hung out and XERB Radio, the infamous, border blaster radio station from which Wolman Jack rocked the North American airwaves.

New this year will be the inauguration of Holstein's Herd, a special display of classic police, fire chief and ambulance vehicles, registration for which is still open.

Schedule Summary

May 14: Henry Travers’ Scholarship Dinner. Very limited seating by advance reservation only, you’ll enjoy the company of several members of the production staff (who have great, behind-the-scenes stories) and maybe even one or more of the cast members.
May 15: American Graffiti Cruise-in & Kickoff Social at the Petaluma Plaza/Plaza North from 4 to 8pm. No registration fee for 1975 or older vehicles. American Graffiti Star look-alike contest, live entertainment, merchandise, surprises and just showing off your ride and hanging out with your buds and making new friends.
May 16: Salute 2009 Show and Evening Cruise all day (10am to 9pm) in downtown Petaluma on the same streets where American Graffiti was filmed in 1972. Over 300 classic cars and trucks, Holstein’s Herd, live bands and street dancing, karaoke, Mel’s Burger City, XERB Radio, great food, contests, shopping, American Graffiti collectibles, surprises and so much more!
Ned Kopp and Haskell Wexler
Ned Kopp and Haskell Wexler
American Graffiti stars
American Graffiti stars
Eagle One award
Eagle One Award
2008 American Graffiti Salute
2008 American Graffiti Salute
Paul LeMat Handprints
Paul LeMat Handprints
Sgt. Lyons and Cindy Williams
Sgt. Lyons and Cindy Williams