|2013 Route International Festival in Joplin|
In recent years the annual Route 66 International Festival has morphed into a family reunion of Route 66 enthusiasts from all points of the compass wrapped in a delightful weekend of fun filled activities for the entire family. Last year the organizers for the event in Joplin raised the standard quite high as the festival was nothing short of spectacular.
With less than eight months to go it remains to be seen if the City of Kingman will be able to top Joplin but early indications are that the 2014 Route 66 International Festival will truly be one for the history books. Manifesting the theme of “Crossroads of the Past and Future” will be an amazing array of electric vehicles.
When was the last time you saw a concourse quality 1960 Electric Shopper? How about a 1902 Studebaker designed by Thomas Edison?
|Courtesy McLellans Automotive|
When was the last time an old fashioned burger joint centered 1950s evening of unorganized cruising included an ultra rare 1930 Detroit Electric? Or a record setting electric ’32 Ford roadster?
These unique vehicles are but a few of the automotive treasures that will be participating as the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation is attending the festival. A detailed press release from this organization will be released this week.
Now, add in a Leaf or two, a few Tesla’s, GEM cars representing the Route 66 Electric Car Club and a couple of hybrids. Mingle these with the traditional ’57 Chevies, deuce coupes, Hudson built sedans, vintage trucks, Corvette’s, hot rods, a Model A and Model T or two, and motorcycles, and that equals a truly unique automotive event on Route 66.
But wait, there is more. TNT Engineering is hosting an exhibition of Bob Waldmire artistry and a gathering of VW enthusiasts on Saturday afternoon.
This, however, is but the frosting on the proverbial cake. The authors, artists, and collectors exhibition is growing in scope daily as evidenced by the scheduled attendance of acclaimed Route 66 author Akio Takeuchi of Japan.
The private initiative fund raising endeavor to have Joe Loesch and the Road Crew (see top right corner of the blog) perform at the festival has topped $1,000 in the first week. The popularity of this band with Route 66 enthusiasts (see the photo at left of crowds gathering for their performance in Galena, Kansas during last years festival) has earned them the title “The Route 66 Musical Ambassadors.”
If your not a “roadie”, the popular term used to describe a Route 66 enthusiast, when you check out the band members bio on the website it becomes quite apparent that this just may be the greatest band that you never heard of. Just listen to a few tunes on the website and see if your not inspired to take a road trip.
The Canadian Route 66 Association will be cruising to the event in mass. Attendees from Holland and Germany, from New Zealand and from Japan, from France and from Italy, are already making room reservations. All of this puts the international in the festival.
Now, a few quick somewhat unrelated notes. The Kingman Daily Miner is continuing its series about the festival with the latest published feature centering on the historic partnership between Hualapai Tourism and the organizers of the festival, and the fascinating history associated with Grand Canyon West that includes bat guano mining and an engineering marvel in the form of a cross canyon cable car.
Details are not finalized but plans are to include a special shuttle and admission rates to the Grand Canyon West Resort during the festival. This is the site of the world famous skywalk over the canyon floor.
For more than eighty years America has gotten its kicks on Route 66. For more than twenty years the old double six has been America’s most famous highway with a very enthusiastic international fan base. It looks as though that won’t be changing in 2014.