|Author Jim Hinckley in the Hualapai Mountains of Arizona.|
Before providing an explanation for the title of todays post, I need a bit of assistance. Time and time again when meeting with various tour groups the question is asked, “Are you a redneck?”
For the life of me I can’t imagine how our visitors make this leap to judgment. Would anyone care to provide a bit of insight?
The assumption that I may be a closet redneck played a role in the choosing of the title for the Saturday post. Likewise with the events that will be unfolding in the week to come.
When I signed on to assist with the development of the 2014 Route 66 International Festival my initial role was to serve as a consultant, to facilitate meetings and cooperative partnerships, and to offer assistance in promotional development. It was imperative that the essence of the event which is a celebration of the road, its history, its unique culture, and the people that make it special weren’t overshadowed as the festival took shape.
Somewhere along the line this relatively simple task morphed into troubleshooter, bouncer, referee, strategic planner, cheerleader, mediator, facilitator, diplomat, promoter, advertisement development specialist, and piñata. I bit holes in my tongue, waded through vast lakes of what could have easily passed for bovine recycled hay, developed tremendous partnerships that will last for years to come, made new friends, ticked off a few others, had a good time, made some serious blunders, cleaned up the mess that resulted from blunders made by others, survived time spent in a pit of vipers, suffered tremendous bouts of depression resultant of necessary but frustrating restraint, and in general, learned a great deal.
At this point in time airing dirty laundry or proclaiming our triumphs would do little to ensure the festival is a success. It also wouldn’t provide other communities with an opportunity to learn from our mistakes or success.
That, however, will change next week. This grumpy old redneck is of the opinion that the communities along the Route 66 corridor, the business owners in those communities, and the people who travel the road in search of memories and good times deserve better than what constitutes acceptable “business as usual” practices at this time.
After the festival I will be compiling a detailed report outlining the events development and promotion from its inception, its affect on the Route 66 community as well as the City of Kingman, and the potential long term benefits for both of them. I will also be blunt with my criticisms of issues that hindered its development, especially those that could have been easily avoided or that were wholly preventable.
The report will be made available to all interested parties. I will also make myself available for presentations pertaining to the use of events as a catalyst for development, and the importance of having a foundation in place before commencing creation of an event or festival.
As noted previously, the Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future Conference is, for me, the crowning achievement of this festival. Even better, it has inspired the City of Edwardsville to expand on the concept in 2015.
We, the Route 66 community, have a centennial celebration to plan and prepare for. These conferences, which I hope will spawn an honest to goodness Route 66 convention in 2016 (its in the works!) are the first steps. They are also represent the dawn of a new era for this storied old road.
Now, lets let the good times with good friends roll. Celebrating the special and unique nature of legendary Route 66 with friends from far and wide ensure a week filled with memory making good times.
Will you be joining us for the party?