Modesto-area high school students 'Shake' it up at Riverbank Park

02/24/2013 5:22 PM

09/19/2013 1:40 PM

RIVERBANK — What happens when a hot dog, a taco, a Batman, a Waldo, a penguin, a sumo princess and assorted bananas show up at a park?

You get the filming of Central Valley’s version of the popular viral Harlem Shake video. Several hundred area high school students assembled at Riverbank’s Silva Park to take part in the loosely organized event.

The idea was the brainchild of Enochs High School students Taylor Lodi, Brandon Pimentel and Tanner Bogar, a group of friends who were watching Harlem Shake videos a week ago at Roundtable Pizza and got the idea to make their own.

The Harlem Shake phenomena, which started at the beginning of the month, involves filming 30-second video clips which begin with a calm scene and erupts half way through with spastic dancing, costumes and general revelry.

A “Harlem Shake” search on YouTube brings back more than 149,000 videos and versions have been filmed by everyone from university sports teams to community firefighters and a Norwegian army brigade.

Lodi, Pimentel and Bogar wanted to create their own, and extend it beyond just their fellow Enochs students.

“We were just eating pizza together and watching videos,” Pimentel said. “And we thought let’s make our own and invite everyone.”

Students from Modesto, Oakdale, Riverbank, Turlock and beyond took part. Word spread virally, first through a single tweet on Twitter posted last Monday. The group started their own Twitter account, @ValleyShake , which gained more than 700 followers in a week. The only instructions were to wear something crazy and get ready to go wild.

At the park, students arrived in elaborate costumes and wacky outfits, brought props and painted faces. Local vendors were on scene while students sold concessions and T-shirts to raise money for the Police Activities League.

Oakdale High School students Montana Nunes and Christina Bradshaw came dressed as a sumo princess and bottle of ketchup respectively.

Bradshaw said they heard about the gathering through social media.

“We thought it would be fun and wanted to be a part of something,” said Bradshaw, a junior at Oakdale High.

It was a sentiment shared by many at the event. Johansen High students Nathan Adair and Kody Kamstra came with some of their friends from the swim team.

“It’s really cool, I think this is going to be awesome,” said senior Adair, clad only in his team Speedo and swim cap.

The crowd began assembling at 2 p.m. A DJ played throughout and people stayed energized dancing in the middle of the park.

At 3:30, the students wrangled the crowd and the music was played. They shot two takes of jubilant chaos, and then it was done.

The Valley Shake organizers told the crowd the video would be posted on YouTube later Sunday night and while some filtered out, others stayed to shake it out some more.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on

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