Teresa Takacs (second from left), president of the Rotary Club of Ashcroft-Cache Creek, presents Bill Elliott and other members of the Graffiti Days Committee with a plaque commemorating the funding awarded to them by the Kamloops Rotary Disaster Relief Fund Committee. The funding was one of several such grants facilitated by the local Rotary club following the Elephant Hill wildfire of 2017, and in this instance was applied for by the Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department, to be used for fencing during the annual Graffiti Days weekend. Photo: Barbara Roden

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Graffiti Days returns to Cache Creek over the weekend of June 7–9 for the 32nd year, with some old favourites (smoke show), new attractions (drive-in movie), and something that’s both old and new: for the first time since 2015, drag racing will again be taking place during the weekend.

The 1/8-mile races will be held at a new venue: the Campbell Hill airstrip. Races were formerly held at the Eagle Motorplex, which closed in May 2016 just weeks before that year’s Graffiti Days event, sending organizers scrambling to revise the schedule.

There will be three days of racing, explains organizer Dwight Toews of Thunder in the Valley Raceway, who is also a member of the Graffiti Days committee. “It starts at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 7 with a test and tune, then runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 8, with evening races if necessary. There’ll be another full day of racing on Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and that’s when the trophies will be handed out.”

Toews says that there are lights at the site for night races, as well as stands for the audience, as the Rodeo committee has donated their bleachers. Volunteers have been at work cutting out the rubber fill that was used to seal cracks on the airstrip, and an asphalt paver will be coming in to seal the cracks properly for the racing. Between the lights, bleachers, and no-posts that will be installed, Toews says that the site will” look like a drag strip, not an airstrip.”

He adds that there should be a good turnout of cars at the event. “Lots of people have been calling up, and I’ve been pointing them to the website (www.thunderinthevalley.co) to register. We’ll see how it goes, and if there’s good interest we’ll hold more races, and bring people back to the area.” Sixty cars need to register in order for the races to go ahead over the Graffiti Days weekend.

Toews said that in the past the Langley Loafers used to organize the Graffiti Days drag races, and that he decided to go ahead with the planning after getting the go-ahead from the committee and the Village of Cache Creek. “The Graffiti Days committee has a lot on their plate.”

He was a drag racer as a kid, then switched to riding bulls. In 2011 he started a car club in Carstairs, Alberta, and ran 160-foot drag races on a road in the town. He moved here from Alberta because of the Eagle Motorplex, only to have it close down shortly after he arrived. Of bringing back drag racing to the area, Toews says “I’m no hero; I’m just a guy trying to make things happen. It should be really awesome.”

The evening of June 7 will feature a new addition to the Graffiti Days line-up: a drive-in movie sponsored by Interior Savings Credit Union. Graffiti Days committee chair Bill Elliott says that the family-friendly film—which has not yet been revealed—will be screened at the 5Ts Driving Range just off Highway 1 east of Cache Creek. The festivities—which include a concession—kick off at 7:30 p.m., with the movie starting at dusk. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society.

The Geo-Cache Poker Run takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, and Elliott says that this year, unlike in the past, entrants do not have to be in a vintage car; anyone wearing vintage clothing can take part. “It will make it more fun and more inclusive,” he says, adding that although the run covers the entire region, participants have lots of choices as to where they go. “You don’t have to go to all the stops. Anyone who wants to enter just has to show up at the Cache Creek Visitor Information Centre.”

The Cache Creek Market will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days, with vendors setting out their stalls in the parking lot beside Chum’s Restaurant. The Show and Shine takes place at the Cache Creek park from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and there will be music, a concession, and a beer garden at the site.

The Crime Stoppers raffle car will be there, with attendees having a chance to buy tickets, and Elliott says that the Graffiti Days committee will also have their own raffle project: the shell of a 1955 Chevy. “It’s a real fixer-upper,” he says with a laugh. “The winner can take the shell, or take $300 in cash.”

The ever-popular Smoke Show will be held in the parking lot of the Cache Creek Community Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. Any insured drivers are eligible to take part at no charge, and there is no registration necessary.

The Sock Hop dance will follow at the Community Hall starting at 9:30 p.m., with live entertainment provided by 13 Broken Bones from Penticton. Tickets for the 19+ event are available at the door for $5 each, and 1950s apparel is encouraged.

For a complete schedule and more information, visit the Cache Creek Graffiti Days Facebook page.

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