About 23,000 people visited downtown Springfield, Missouri, during the past weekend’s Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, only in its fifth year of existence.
About 5,000 also attended the Route 66 parade during the festival, according to city officials cited Sunday by KSPR-TV in Springfield. More than 400 entries were in the parade.
Business owners, including hotels and retail outlets reported boosts, thanks to the festival. Businesses such as Steak and Shake, Hurts Donuts, St. Michael’s and Maria’s, saw people line out the doors for many hours during the festival.
Plans have already been announced for the 2016 Festival, which will take place Aug. 12-14.
Organizers already have announced the headlining acts for next year’s festival at the historic Gillioz Theatre: legendary western swing act Asleep at the Wheel and bluegrass act Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
Asleep at the Wheel always performs “Route 66” at its shows, and Vincent is a Missouri native. Tickets for those shows already are on sale.
— The week also marked the reopening of three historic buildings in downtown as residential living — the Heer’s Building, the Sterling Building and the Woodruff Building. All the buildings are about 100 years old. The Woodruff is particularly notable because that’s where U.S. 66 was officially confirmed on Nov. 11, 1926, in John Woodruff’s office. A plaque commemorating that event was dedicated last week.
— Author Susan Croce Kelly won the festival’s annual John T. Woodruff Award. It no doubt came because of her recent biography of Cyrus Avery, titled “Father of Route 66.” But Kelly also co-wrote “Route 66: The Highway and Its People,” which was one of the first books about the subject.
(Image via the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival Facebook page)