After two-year hiatus, Route 66 Festival returns to Springfield on Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival is returning to Springfield on Thursday.

This year’s “Rockin’ The Route”-themed festival kicks off with a newly added street party. Local band Static in the Attic will get the show started at 6:30 p.m., and will be followed by the nationally praised Emerald City Band at 8 p.m.

This year’s festival attendees can expect car shows featuring over 700 classic vehicles, a bike show, Route 66-specific exhibits, raffles, dining, shopping and a slew of musical acts. There will also be a “parade on wheels” Friday evening at 6 p.m. To view a full schedule of events, visit the festival’s website here

Construction on the historic route began in the early 1900s, and it was officially designated as Route 66 on Nov. 11, 1926. Calvin Coolidge was the president of the United States, motion pictures were a year away from having sound, and Henry Ford established the assembly line – lowering the price of automobiles and setting the pace for Route 66. 

The so-called Main Street of America brought great economic value to large swaths of the United States, and remains a bucket list item for many across the entire world today. In 1992 on the route’s 66th anniversary, the Route 66 Association of Missouri designated Springfield as the Birthplace of Route 66. 

Some traces of the Mother Road can still be seen in Springfield along Glenstone Avenue, Kearney Street, College Street, Chestnut Expressway and St. Louis Street. To view places of historic Route 66 interest in Springfield, click here

Several roads in the downtown area will be closed from Wednesday until Sunday, Aug. 14 at 7 a.m. To view all street closures, click here

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