To say I am quite excited about what took place at last evenings organizational meeting for the Route 66 International Festival, or the phone calls received yesterday, or the recent TripAdvisor awards being given to a number of Route 66 motels would be akin to saying Route 66 seems to be rather popular.
Lets start with news about the Road Crew. Though the fund raising goal hasn’t quite been reached, the band will begin making travel arrangements. to attend the festival in Kingman. That is a testimony to faith in the Route 66 community and Rick Zimmer’s ability to stir folks to contribute to a very worthy cause.
Further exemplifying the essence of what makes Route 66 unique is the launching of Route 66 Cares by Ron Hart, Executive Director of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce. Established to provide assistance to Route 66 communities suffering from natural disasters, the initiatives first endeavor was raising funds for Baxter Springs, Kansas and Quapaw, Oklahoma that were recently hit by a tornado.
Now lets talk about the festival, and exciting plans for 2015. A key aspect of the festival in Kingman is a Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future conference.
With a list of speakers that range from Dries Bessels of the Dutch Route 66 Association to representatives from state Route 66 associations, Kaisa Barthuli of the National Park Service, Michael Wallis, Ed Klein, Ron Hart, and key people associated with the electric vehicle community the conference represents an incredible opportunity for the Route 66 community. In addition, many of these individuals and organizations will have displays in the exhibition hall.
In short, this is the embryonic foundation for a Route 66 convention. Your participation and involvement is crucial if we are to successfully take this to the next level.
The next level is where I really get excited. As the conference has been a point of extreme interest in the Route 66 community (436 emails in ten days) discussions were initiated about 2015 and the possibility of a real convention with speakers, presentations, workshops, an exhibition of authors and artists, and similar components.
Well, as things are extremely vague at this point all I can say is that a city in Illinois has expressed tremendous interest in hosting and assisting with the development of a convention of this sort, and numerous people in the Route 66 community are eager to commence development. Where we go from here, in regard to Kingman as well as a convention in 2015, is largely up to you.
First, as noted, your support and participation in the conference in Kingman needed. This is an opportunity to build partnerships and cooperatives, to avoid wasting resources of time and money by learning about what other communities have down to harness the resurgent interest in Route 66 as a catalyst for development, and to learn about resources available including electric vehicle infrastructure development.
Second, keep the open communication going. Lets hear about what you would like to see in regard to workshops and a conference.
For more information about the conference in Kingman the primary point of contact is Dora Manley who is assuming the point position for festival development. The email is route66kingman@gmail or (928)279-4560.
Of course, you may also contact me with ideas, thoughts, suggestions, or questions. If I don’t have answers, I will find out who does.
Now, a final note. Lets get the walk of fame in Kingman moving. It is an excellent opportunity to honor the individuals who have transformed Route 66 from a highway into an icon. It is also an opportunity to build a sense of community and community purpose for the entire Route 66 corridor.