Our regional Route 66 heritage will be on stage the first weekend of August this year. The Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau will be hosting the 2013 Route 66 International Festival, August 1-3. This means the Route 66 enthusiasts, Roadies as they affectionately call themselves, from around the world will be coming to Joplin.
“The past two events have been held in Victorville, California last year and Amarillo, Texas in 2011,” according to Rick Freeland one of the co-founders of the International’s parent organization, The Route 66 Alliance. He added, “Roadies from all 50 states attend, and we generally see 20 countries represented throughout the weekend. Traveling Route 66 is an important piece of Americana both European and Asian visitors want to experience.”
The agenda for the weekend is beginning to take shape and will include events in Carthage, Missouri and Galena, Kansas as well as Joplin. A kick-off event on August 1st is being developed to include a cruise from Joplin, along Route 66 to the Carthage Square, then ending at the Carthage 66 Drive-in for a Roadie’s meet and greet, plus a movie. Much of the Friday, August 2nd daytime events will be held in Downtown Joplin with the evening events moving to Galena’s Main Street. The City of Galena and Route 66 patrons there are planning an open house of newly renovated buildings and Main Street streetscape. A TV/Movie themed car show and a concert will cap the evening’s events.
Saturday, August 3rd, daytime and evening activities will all be held on Main Street in Joplin’s Downtown District. Cultural themed activities, vendors and exhibitors will be throughout the downtown area. A car show featuring hot rods, custom semi-trucks, vintage military vehicles and motorcycles will fill the streets in the afternoon in the 400-600 blocks of Main Street. The 200-300 will be the location for an evening concert.
For all 3 days of the International Festival, a Main Street Marketplace will house all things Route 66. Authors, artists, crafters and collectors will be vending their specialty; providing a great opportunity for young people to be exposed to the history and culture of Route 66. Food vendors will add their flavor to events.
For more details about the events go to www.route66internationalfestival.com. Join the conversation about the 2013 Route 66 International Festival on Facebook at facebook.com/Route66JoplinMO. All activities unless otherwise mentioned are open to the public.