Okay, we still have a few months to go before closing out the year and there are some great Route 66 events scheduled along the old double six between Chicago and Santa Monica. Topping our list is Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri where I will introduce the next book.
Today, however, I would like to look toward 2015, and provide a bit of insight as well as my thoughts on what role the recent festival in Kingman will play in future events.
In regard to long term development of cooperative partnerships that benefit the entire Route 66 community, here as well as abroad, there is little doubt that the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future Conference (here is the link for the archived conference) presented the best opportunity for long term ramifications of a positive nature. As an example, consider unfolding developments in Edwardsville.
Yesterday I received notice from Michael Wallis of the Route 66 Alliance that instead of an international Route 66 festival next year, support would go toward development of events in Edwardsville, Illinois. At this early date plans for the city sponsored event are two fold; a conference with workshops immediately followed by Route 66 themed Halloween festivities.
I am rather confident that if the event in Illinois gathers support and enthusiasm from the international Route 66 community in coming months, as I am confident that it will, one or more of the “roadies” will announce inclusion of an “unofficial” celebratory party in the roster of events. Such was the case at the festival in Kingman and that party turned out to be one of the festivals highlights. A Halloween theme will definitely add a new and unique slant to the idea of Route 66 celebrations. Interestingly enough there is an historic basis for this.
The city has hosted a Halloween parade, on Route 66, since 1926 with the exception of two years during World War II. However, the event actually predates certification of the old double six by two years. These conferences, and the success of the festival in Kingman coupled with the need to announce events at least a full eighteen months in advance has resulted in the initiation of discussions for another event 2016. Indications are that it would also have two components, the festivities and the conference with accompanying workshops.Even though we are still just over a decade away, I am hoping that all of this sets the stage for the development of the partnerships needed to launch a major centennial celebration in 2026. Lord be willing, and the creek don’t rise, I am hoping to still be here for that party!That lead in opens the door to the next plug of the day, the Route 66 Walk of Fame that was dedicated at the opening ceremony for this years Route 66 International Festival in Kingman, Arizona. As envisioned, the honorarium to the individuals that helped transform this highway into an icon will eventually stretch the length of the Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) corridor through the cities historic district. To nominate an individaul and fund a brick, contact the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce. After the festival in Kingman, Route 66 enthusiasts initiated a number of conversations about the event, previous festivals, what was dropped, what should have been kept, and what the future holds. In one of these conversations it was noted that the annual awards celebration was one of the traditions that should have continued. As I gave thought to this, an idea came to mind. Why can’t we have an awards event? Why couldn’t the Route 66 community draft a list of six or seven categories, and have a Route 66 business sponsor each category? A Facebook page should suffice for nominations as well as voting. Simply ask for nominees in each category and that nominations be made before a certain date. Likewise with voting. Or, perhaps, the host city could include this in their event website. What are your thoughts and ideas?