It takes dozens of dedicated community volunteers months of preparation and planning to pull off a major event like Cache Creek’s annual Graffiti Days weekend. This year their hard work once again paid off, with hundreds of people turning out to enjoy an action-packed three days that featured near-record attendance.
“It was a good year for sure,” says organizer Bill Elliott of the Graffiti Days committee. “The Show ’n’ Shine had 156 entries, and we’re very happy with the count. Our record was in 2015, with 190 cars, so we were pretty close.
“We had a great crowd. In fact, we’ll have to make the beer garden bigger next time, as it was shoulder to shoulder in there, and we might have to get more food vendors, which we’ll discuss with local groups and the committee.”
One of the local groups supplying food this year was the Ashcroft and District Lions Club, who sold out of food.
“We thought we were prepared, but we sold 200 burgers, two cases of fries, and three cases of hot dogs, and ran out of onions,” says club president Sue Peters, who praised the “small but mighty” crew of volunteers.
“The line-ups were there, and we were pumping out orders as fast as they came in, but we have a small grill. We haven’t done anything of this scale since the Ashcroft fall fair in 2019.
“In the time I’ve been in the club this is the first sell-out I’ve seen. We thought we were prepared for a big group, but there were far more than we anticipated.”
Elliott says everybody had to re-learn how to dance at the Saturday evening sock-hop, which had about 130 attendees. The family dance and drive-in movie were both popular, as was the Poker Run, and the smoke show seemed to have more participants and spectators than usual.
There were 96 cars in the parade that toured Cache Creek and Ashcroft, and Elliott says it was great to see the streets lined with people taking in the sight. There were more than 130 cars taking part in the drag races at Campbell Hill, with drivers coming from all over the province and as far afield as Alberta.
“The calibre of race cars was exceptional,” says Elliott. “And there were so many people there was a parking problem.”
He adds that the organizers sold out of T-shirts, and says that reaction from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.
“People are quite impressed with a small town holding an event of this magnitude. There have been other classic car events this year, but none with as much as this one; not in our area, anyway.”
The Cache Creek market held a special two-day event over the weekend, and while Sunday was quiet, organizer Wendy Coomber said that there were at least 30 vendors there on Saturday; so many that the market had to take up space in front of Chum’s Restaurant to fit everyone in.
Coomber has kept detailed stats of market attendance over the years, and says that 2022 rivalled 2019, which was a “fantastic” event. “And you can definitely see the difference between 2022 and 2019 and the two years when Graffiti Days didn’t happen, where there was a noticeable drop in everything.
“The place was rocking. It was jam-packed because people were here for Graffiti Days and the drag races. We had a lot of vendors who just appeared for that day because they knew it would be busy, and if they had to choose a market to be at that day they chose Cache Creek.”
The raffle car — a 1955 Chevrolet four-door sedan — made an appearance at the market, where a lot of tickets were sold. The winner opted to take the $300 cash prize, so the Chevy will be back.
“We’ll try again next year,” says Elliott with a laugh. “It has two front wheels and we’ll try to add two more so it will have four next year, which might help move it along.”
Peters says that a big part of the weekend’s success, in her view, was that people were tired of being at home and wanted to be out.
“I saw people I’ve never seen before. A good thing about an event like this is that it bodes well for the future. People came and had a good experience. When I was in business here I supported Graffiti Days as much as possible, because it’s a great economic driver for the area. The whole thing about tourism is getting people here and getting them to stay, and everything went well.
“Kudos to everyone involved. You need a huge number of volunteers for something like this, and because of those volunteers people came out and had a good time, and will come back.”
Elliott agrees that Graffiti Days is huge for the economy of the area.
“When you have a crowd like that coming they all need to buy fuel and eat and find somewhere to sleep. The town was booked; people wanted to come but couldn’t find a place to stay.”
Peters also noticed that a lot of young people originally from the area came back for the event. “I’m very excited to see that. Kids who grew up here, and who probably got dragged to Graffiti Days with their moms and dads, came back to experience it as adults. People danced all night and got into the spirit of it, and it was heartwarming.”
She also notes the hard work that went into the planning and execution.
“On the weekend itself, volunteers worked from 8 a.m. Thursday through Monday, when we were taking down decorations. We worked hard and were really tired, but we were in a great mood because we knew it had gone well.”
Now that this year’s event is over, volunteers have some time to rest and catch their breath, but not a lot: there will be a wrap-up meeting on July 6, and Elliott says that the organizers will have to start working earlier to prepare for next year. Peters agrees.
“We need to be ready. Next year might not be quite as big, but who knows? We’ll be busy next year: that’s my prediction.”