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Started in 2011, The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival’s goal was to celebrate Springfield as the Birthplace, because a telegram was sent from John T. Woodruff’s Colonial Hotel, asking for the number 66 as the number of the new East-West highway, and to honor John T. Woodruff, the Springfield entrepreneur that helped name Route 66.
We present the John T. Woodruff Award to individuals that have been instrumental in the continuing promotion of “The Mother Road”. This year we are presenting the Award to Cora Scott and Phyllis Ferguson, who promote Route 66 and Springfield every day.
The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival is the largest festival on Route 66 in Missouri and one of the largest on The Route.
In 2019. it was mentioned on The Today Show as one of the festivals to visit that summer and 6,500 attendees enjoyed a 600 plus car parade and two days of classic cars, motorcycles and outstanding music in Downtown Springfield.
This year, Route 66 is putting the spotlight on “Women on Route 66”, and we are honoring two women, Cora Scott and Phyllis Ferguson, that promote Route 66 and Springfield every day.
Cora Scott, as the city’s Director of Public Information and Civic Engagement is one of the biggest cheerleaders for Springfield and Route 66. From the publicity to the actual coordination of the city’s involvement in traffic control, health and safety and the picnic at the Route 66 Roadside Park she is the “Heartbeat” of the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. She realizes how important Route 66’s attraction as a tourist destination is to the city and she promotes this in everything she does.
She has been dubbed “The Parade Queen” by the committee, because each year, she continues to make our parade bigger and better.
Equally important to Springfield and Route 66 is Phyllis Ferguson, She grew up traveling Route 66 as a young child and has continued her passion for traveling and preserving the history of it for over six decades.
A longtime Springfield businesswoman, she serves as the Chief Operating Officer for local restaurant chain, Mexican Villa. El Taco has operated on E. Kearney St., a Route 66 alignment, since 1963.
Phyllis served on Springfield City Council as the Zone 1, Northwest Springfield representative for six years and as Mayor Pro Tem for two years. During her tenure on the Council she worked to reverse the “No Cruising” ordinance and brought back “Cruising on Kearney”. She initiated and shepherded an economic incentive and revitalization plan for Kearney St. (Route 66) through Council, and received the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association Citizen Planner award in 2016 for her neighborhood planning and revitalization work in North Springfield.
In 2019, paralleling the entrepreneurial spirit of John T. Woodruff, she and her husband Tim restored and began operating 93 year old Rockwood Motor Court on W. College St., an original alignment of Route 66.
Adding yet another celebration to this year’s Festival is the official lighting of the Rockwood’s neon sign at 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, August 13. Everyone is invited to attend.
For questions contact:
David J. Eslick