Modesto /mdsto/ (Spanish for "modest"), officially the City of Modesto, is the county seat and largest city of Stanislaus County, California, United States. With a population of approximately 201,165 at the 2010 census, it is the 18th largest city in the state of California and forms part of the Modesto-Merced combined statistical area. The Modesto Census County Division, which includes the cities of Ceres and Riverbank, had a population of 312,842 as of 2010[update].
Modesto is located in the Central Valley, 90 miles (140km) north of Fresno, 40 miles (64km) north of Merced, California, 92 miles (148km) east of San Francisco, 68 miles (109km) south of the state capital of Sacramento, 66 miles (106km) west of Yosemite National Park, and 24 miles (39km) south of Stockton. Modesto has been honored as a Tree City USA numerous times. It is surrounded by rich farmland; Stanislaus County ranks sixth among California counties in farm production. Led by milk, almonds, chickens, walnuts, and corn silage, the county grossed nearly $3.1billion in agricultural production in 2011. The farm-to-table movement plays a central role in Modesto living as in the Central Valley.
Filmmaker George Lucas, who was born in Modesto, graduated from Thomas Downey High School in 1962 and attended Modesto Junior College, immortalized the city in his award-winning 1973 film American Graffiti. Although it was not actually shot in Modesto, the film portrayed the spirit of cruising and friendship on Modesto's 10th and 11th Streets in 1962, and inspired a revival of interest in 1950s pop culture, including the TV show Happy Days and its spin-offs.
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