Romeoville art fair will include Bob Waldmire tribute

Bob Waldmire

The inaugural Route 66 Kiwanis Art Fair in Romeoville, Illinois, on Aug. 22 will include a tribute to late Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire.

The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Edward Hospital Athletic and Event Center at 55 Phelps Ave. in Romeoville (map here), less than a block off Illinois 53, aka Route 66. Admission will be free.

Waldmire became known for his intricate drawings of Route 66 geography and landmarks for two decades. He drove in a 1972 Volkswagen microbus and became the unofficial inspiration to the microbus hippie character Fillmore in the 2006 hit animated movie “Cars.” He told me he turned down the official endorsement because Disney would have kept the rights in perpetuity, and the fact his likeness would have appeared on McDonald’s Happy Meals. Waldmire was a vegetarian, and he didn’t like the thought of his likeness being next to a hamburger. He offered to funnel the endorsement money to charity, but he said Disney turned it down.

He also was the son of Ed Waldmire Jr., who built the Route 66 landmark Cozy Dog Drive-In restaurant in Springfield, Illinois.

Bob Waldmire died of cancer at age 64 in 2009.

The event also will feature live music, a children’s tent, food booths and giveaways. Proceeds will fund charities and scholarships for area youth programs.

The event also will have a musical tribute to singer Nat King Cole, who popularized Bobby Troup’s song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” in 1946.

(Hat tip to Heather Jelic; image of Bob Waldmire in 2006 by cobalt123 via Flickr)

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