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Gary’s Graffiti Nights – Come On Baby Let the Good Times Roll

Go to the Graffiti Nights Car Show next Thursday and you will see people who share a passion for the classics  glowing and having a great time as they share stories and chit chat with fellow enthusiasts. The show started back in the early 1980’s by a man named Gary Duster of Dubuque, IA.   Gary is a classics fan who wanted to share his love of the classics with the Tri-State community. As of late, the show has moved to East Dubuque, IL where it seems to have found a perfect home.

We got a hold of George Young, former owner of George & Dales restaurant and current Mayor of East Dubuque. With the help of his son and the support of the community, George gets things in order for the show to run weekly in East Dubuque.  He’s very enthusiastic about the show being in East Dubuque and he shared with us some information about it in a recent Q&A session.

Gary Duster - The Man Behind Graffiti Nights

How did the show start-up in East Dubuque?
It used to be over in Dubuque at Hudson’s Restaurant a few years back.  Once Hudson’s went out of business, Gary Duster was looking for a place to host all the cars. We arranged a meeting with Gary.  He had had a lot of other places make offers to host the event, but we convinced him to try out East Dubuque. Right from the start Gary loved it and decided to hold the weekly event in East Dubuque and it’s been a perfect fit.

How many years has the show been in East Dubuque?
This is the third year Gary has set up his show here. My son and I have been arranging for it to happen in East Dubuque for the last three years. It has been in several places over the 27 years Gary has done the show. They had it in the Eagles grocery store parking lot in Dubuque, Hudson’s… and well …  just all over. The car owners love having it in East Dubuque because they have plenty of room.  They don’t have to worry about scratching their cars and they love looking good going up and down the street.

What kind of preparation goes on behind the scenes?
Not really all that much.  Because Gary has been doing this event for 27 years, he has a large following so wherever he goes the cars follow him. He is the organizer of the actual show, we just set up the downtown area with prize tables and speakers for music.  The vehicle owners then come to park their cars and people freely come in and out to take a look.

What, would you say, is the overall goal of the show?
Simply to provide family entertainment … a place where people can get together and have some fun looking at some great cars. People love cars and there’s a wide range of people coming in, young and old. The car owners like to talk to each other and the people all have books in their cars of how it used to look and what they did to restore it.

Every once in a while there will be a band playing and there are prizes and contests that go on. Next week we will have 30 custom motorcycles coming in.  They are all very nice and there’s quite a bit of money invented in the bikes so it’ll be a nice addition to the show that people should look forward to.

How many cars usually show up?
In the last showing there were about 200 vehicles.  On average I’d say there are around 150 vehicles in the show.

This '29 Model T Ratrod was quite popular.

What is the most unique or rarest car you’ve seen at the show?
Just the other night there was a Ratrod and it drew the most attention. It’s a 29 Model T with a diesel engine in it. The owner actually drives that car back and forth every day. But there are cars that come in that are worth well over $100,000.   There are so many beautiful cars, it’s hard to pick a unique one because they’re all pretty unique.

Is there anything about the show that people may not know?
Gary puts all this together completely voluntarily. There’s no admission charge, no entry fee, no one has to pay anything, it’s something he put together to be a hassle-free social gathering. All of the prizes are donated.

Are there any requirements to get in?
You have to have a car that’s 1972 or older. It can be in any condition. You’ll see them with dents, without paint jobs, etc. As long as you can run it to the show it’s good to go.

Do the car owners get any kind of best in class awards or anything like that?
Nope, people come just for the love of cars and to be with the community. Just a night out to have a good time.

Have you gotten a good response from the community?
Oh absolutely, the city has always been 100% behind the event.

What kind of schedule is the show on?
It is every Thursday — May through September.   Registration is at 6:00 pm and it runs ’til 9:00 pm.

Anything else you’d like to add?
No, just people should stop by and see what it’s all about. It’s quite a nice night.

If you are looking for a great Thursday night activity any time this summer, head on down to Graffiti Nights on Sinsinawa Avenue in East Dubuque !

Gary’s Graffiti Nights Classic Car Show
At George & Dales on Sinsinawa Ave in East Dubuque, IL
Every Thursday Night May 19 – Sept 15
Registration Starts at 6:00p.m. Show Ends around 9:00p.m.


1 Comment

  • STEVE| May 5, 2012 at 8:14 am


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