Route 66 News

Route 66 festival returns to Lebanon after seven-year hiatus

The Lebanon Route 66 Festival in Lebanon, Missouri, will return next month after a seven-year break, including a concert and gathering at the historic Munger Moss Motel.

The Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society and the Lebanon Parks and Recreation Department are shepherding the festival, which is scheduled for June 16-17.

The festival’s theme will be “Celebrating 100 Years of The Ozark Trail,” recognizing the June 27-29, 1917, convention in Amarillo at which the “northern route” through Lebanon and Laclede County was selected to be on the Ozark Trail, a predecessor of Route 66.

According to a recent news release:

“The Route 66 Society wanted to have a festival again, and the park board wanted something to replace Hillbilly Days, which used to be held on Fathers’ Day weekend,” Bill Jones, president of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society, said.

“So having a Route 66 Festival that weekend works perfectly for all of us.”

Previous Route 66 festival in Lebanon were held from 2001 to 2009.

The Munger Moss will host the festival Friday, June 16, and Boswell Park will host Saturday, June 17.

More about the Munger Moss event:

Munger Moss co-owner Ramona Lehman said she envisions Friday afternoon and evening as a casual get-together. “I just want something where people can bring their chairs, sit around and visit — old-timers come and tell their stories about Route 66.

“I want people just to congregate and have fun.”

Similar to last year when the Munger Moss celebrated its 70th birthday and the 45th anniversary of Bob and Ramona Lehman’s ownership, antique, classic and custom cars are invited to a cruise-in at the motel, and the Tennessee-based US 66 Band, featuring Jess McEntire, will perform both in the afternoon and evening.

“I want people to dance out there,” Lehman said.

The band will auction off a guitar autographed by country-music legend Loretta Lynn. A portion of proceeds from CD sales will be donated by the band to the Route 66 Billboard Association.

Attendees on Friday evening are invited to dress in ’50s-themed costumes, with prizes for the best man’s and best woman’s costume.

Pig Pen BBQ of Lebanon will be serving barbecue starting about noon.

As for the Boswell Park events Saturday, a parade of classic and custom cars will be at 10 a.m. Entrants should line up on Wyota Drive in the Lebanon Industrial Park, east of the Munger Moss. The parade route goes west to Boswell Park.

Parking will be available at the park, nearby businesses and Nelson Park. Laclede Electric also will run a parking shuttle between the parks.

The park will host arts, crafts and food booths, with live music.

About 1:30 p.m., the second and third Route 66-themed murals will be unveiled at the Boswell Park. The first Route 66 mural was dedicated in February.

The festivities will close with the outdoor showing of the movie “Sing” at 9 p.m.

The news release says organizers are “fine-tuning” the event, so more features may be added before mid-June.

(Image of the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri, by el-toro via Flickr)


One thought on “Route 66 festival returns to Lebanon after seven-year hiatus

  1. Steve Sumpter

    My first visit to a 66 festival was in Kingman. It started off bad when my 67 Mustang blew a crankshaft just outside Kingman. We decided to rent a car and stay for the festival. Fortnately we met a man who owned a used car lot, he sold and installed a used engine in my car. I am glad we stayed for the festival it was a bittersweet memory.

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