Route 66 News

Ontario picks up the pieces of Route 66 Rendezvous

On Wednesday, the city of Ontario, Calif., confirmed what was reported in April — it will host the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion classic-car show on Sept. 20-22.

This comes after the annual Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino, Calif., was suspended indefinitely due to the city’s ongoing bankruptcy and state budget cuts.

According to a news release from the Reunion event:

The three-day classic car rally will feature block upon block of cars and displays, live music, and interactive off-site events such as a Poker Run and car competitions, and draw crowds of fans from Southern California and the Southwestern United States to Ontario’s historic Euclid Avenue.

“San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire have enjoyed a long and rich love affair with all things relating to vintage automobiles,” noted Michael Krouse,president of the nonprofit Route 66 Reunion and President & CEO of the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As a part of Ontario’s continuing vision for growth and greater community pride, we have formed what we know will become a long-standing, highly popular vintage metal road show for everyone to be proud of and to enjoy. We couldn’t be more excited as this is a great day for the City of Ontario.”

Teaming-up with the 501(c)3 Route 66 Reunion is long-time car show event planner Shelly McNaul.  “Shelly, who now is our director of event planning for Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion, brings more than 20 years of successful car show operations experience to the team,” said Krouse. “We are thrilled to have her on board.”

It’s interesting to see the press release deliver a nod to the Route 66 Rendezvous without naming the event. The Reunion will be the same weekend as the Rendezvous was each year, and McNaul also was one of the Rendezvous’ organizers. The Route 66 Rendezvous’ Facebook page also has become a promotional arm for the Reunion.

And even though Route 66 never went through Ontario, the event has adopted the name.

San Bernardino isn’t taking this lying down. It is organizing the Rendezvous Back to Route 66 classic-car show the same weekend at San Manuel Baseball Stadium. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:

“We do not want to lose Route 66,” said Judi Penman, the president and CEO of the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce.

According to Penman, the San Bernardino event on Sept. 20-21 already has 100 cars and is planning on food and old-time vendors, kids’ games, continuous stadium entertainment, music, movies and some new vendors.

McNaul told the newspaper the Reunion is following the Rendezvous model and boasts a budget of $500,000. The Reunion seeks to draw between 100,000 and 150,000 people — a far cry from the Rendezvous’ usual 400,000 to 500,000 people, but robust for an inaugural festival. It anticipates registering 2,000 vehicles.

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