23,000 attend Birthplace of Route 66 Festival

Birthplace of Route 66 Festival 2015

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)

3 thoughts on “23,000 attend Birthplace of Route 66 Festival

  1. Ron:
    You need to get your facts straightt before posting.
    The 2015 John T. Woodruff Awards were presented to three people by David J. Eslick, Co-Chairman of the Springfield, Missouri Birthplace of Route 66 Festival Committee.
    The John T. Woodruff Award recognizes individuals that have supported and promoted Route 66. It is named for the Springfield, Missouri businessman that helped get the number 66 for the new highway and he was the first president of the U.S. Route 66 Association.n..
    To Susan Croce Kelly for her 27 years of support and promotion of Route 66.
    She did write the first Route 66 history book, “Route 66, The Highway and It’s People” in 1988 and “The Father of Route, the Cy Avery Story was just released. She has participated in all five of our Festivals.
    To Tommy and Glenda, both charter members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri. Tommy has been the Association President for 15 years and Glenda was the Editor of the Show Me Missouri for 10 years.Their more than 25 years of traveling the Route, being involved in it’s continuing preservation more that qualifies them for this award.
    Eslick presented Jennifer Adams, Social Media and Marketing Director for Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel, an appreciation plaque for her help as the Social Media Chairman and everything she did to make the Festival the success it was.
    Gordon Elliot, Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel Owner and 2014 recipient of the award, made a surprise presentation of the award to Eslick” For his Dedication and Service to the City of Springfield and Route 66″.

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