Birthplace of Route 66 Festival events announced

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The Car Show on Park Central Square gives vintage car enthusiasts a chance to enjoy and show off their rides.

The Route 66 Festival Car Show on Park Central Square gives vintage car enthusiasts a chance to enjoy and show off their rides.

Mark your calendar (and prepare to start your engines) to celebrate all things Route 66 Aug. 14-16 at the fifth annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in downtown Springfield.

Events will include a first-ever Route 66 festival parade, a two-day car and motorcycle show, a motorcycle poker run, two nights of concerts at the Gillioz Theatre, a drive-in movie, a vendor village, a 6.6 mile run and a gathering of Route 66 authors, artists, collectors and associations at The Old Glass Place (501 E. St. Louis St.) where Route 66 aficionados from all over the country will have displays and products for sale.

festLogoTiltFor our first Birthplace of Route 66 Festival parade, we’re looking for the most entertaining marching bands, drum and bugle corps, military bands and community bands of all shapes and sizes to entertain festival guests on the streets of Springfield.

Many marching band directors may be asking, “What is the selection committee really looking for?” The most important and persuasive part of your application is a group resume, including competitions performed in and ratings, other parades and festivals you’ve performed in, awards and special honors and a digital photo of your group.

Susan Croce Kelly, author of “Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery” and “Route 66: The Highway and Its People,” will speak from 7-8:45 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13 at the Library Station for “The Road That Runs Through Everyone’s Life: An Evening with Route 66 Author Susan Croce Kelly.”

Vehicles participating in the car and motorcycle show are $20 if pre-registered by Aug. 1, and $30 anytime thereafter. Cars, trucks and motorcycles must be ready for judging by 11 a.m. Aug. 15.

The first 300 participants will receive a T-shirt and dash plaques. Vendors, food and live music will be available on and around Park Central Square Aug. 15-16. Vendors interested in participating in the festival are asked to contact Tom Mast at KY3 at tmast@ky3.com.

“We’re excited about adding another full day of festivities to the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival,” says Cora Scott, director of Public Information and Civic Engagement for the City of Springfield. “With the variety of activities and events, there will be something for everyone.”

Tickets for the Friday, Aug. 14 concert featuring the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Pure Prairie League have sold out, but the City of Springfield plans a special surprise at Park Central Square, where Route 66 circled the square in bygone days.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, the Gillioz will offer a second musical event featuring Cindy Woolf and Mark Bilyeu. The evening will mark the release of Cindy and Mark’s debut CD, “Wolf Hunter.” The $20-$25 tickets will go on sale Friday, July 17 at gillioz.org.

“After the Friday night concert featuring the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Pure Prairie League sold out so quickly, we realized that the appetite for live entertainment indicated that we needed to grow,” says Geoff Steele, executive director of the Gillioz. “It became clear to us very quickly that we should celebrate the regional musical offerings for this second night of Route 66. Cindy Woolf and Mark Bilyeu are Ozark treasures, and the historic Gillioz Theatre is proud to debut their new project on this festive occasion.”

The festival’s 2015 presenting sponsors include KY3 and Aaron Sachs & Associates. Various groups have partnered with the City of Springfield to make this festival possible, including Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven, West Central Neighborhood Association and Downtown Springfield Association.

Some proceeds of the festival’s various activities will benefit the City of Springfield’s Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park Fund. For more information about the 2015 festival and to register for the car and motorcycle show, the 6.6 mile run, please visit the Birthplace of Route 66 Festivalsgf.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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