Thanks for your interest in the 2016 Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, taking place Aug. 12, 13 and 14 in downtown Springfield, Missouri!
The 2015 festival brought 23,000 people to downtown Springfield, and we expect to top that number in 2016 with even more events, music, vendors and fun.
Do you have questions about the festival? You’re in luck, because we have answers! Here are a few questions we've been getting lately.
Who’s behind the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival?
Six years after the it started in 2010, the festival has grown into a multi-day, multi-event extravaganza. The esteemed group known as the “Birthplace of Route 66 Festival Founders” are Rusty Worley, Jack Stinson, Amber Neal, Tommy and Glenda Pike, David Eslick, West Central Neighborhood Alliance, Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven, Downtown Springfield Association, Route 66 Association of Missouri, Mother's Brewing Co., Steak 'n Shake and Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. Presenting sponsors for the 2016 festival are Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C., Ozarks on TwoWheels.com, KY3 and the City of Springfield.
What’s the event lineup this year?
Festivities include a parade down St. Louis Street starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday; a classic car and motorcycle show Saturday and Sunday; a motorcycle village, with stunts, shows and giveaways at Jubilee Park; a 6.6-mile run through downtown Springfield; and live musical performances from local, regional and national talent all weekend, including the Route 66 Signature Concert Series featuring Rhonda Vincent and Asleep at the Wheel on Friday night and the Marshall Tucker Band on Saturday night at the historic Gillioz Theatre.
Join us Friday evening for a FREE Ice Cream Social hosted by Barry Williams, a.k.a., Greg Brady on Park Central Square immediately following the parade. Also back by popular demand on Friday evening is the Drive-In Movie on the east side of the Springfield Expo Center building at 9 p.m.
A Gypsy Tour Poker Run benefiting the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association will take place 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
The annual confab of authors, artists, collectors and associations affiliated with Route 66 returns to the festival, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13 and Sunday, Aug. 14 at the Old Glass Place, 501 E. St. Louis. These folks will have displays with information about their products and services and will have their wares for sale. Come visit with them about Route 66 and see what they have to offer.
How do I register my car or motorcycle for the car and motorcycle show?
Registration for the car show is now open at route66festivalsgf.com and for the motorcycle show at route66motorcyclevillage.com. You may register and pay online, download, print and mail a paper form with your payment, or you may register in person at the Route 66 Springfield Visitors Center at 815 E. St. Louis Street between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The visitors center will be open 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday, August 12; and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Aug. 13 and Aug. 14. Entrants will receive a packet upon registration check-in that includes your parking pass and other goodies.
Does registration in the car and motorcycle show mean I’m automatically registered for the parade?
No. You must check a box on the car and motorcycle show registration form if you’d like to participate in the parade.
What if I just want to participate in the parade and not the show?
Space is limited, so please fill out and send in an application.
How can I make sure I get a spot on the Square for the car show?
Premium spots for the car show are limited and are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis, so please register early!
I’m a vendor and would like to set up a booth during the festival. How do I do that?
Visit route66festivalsgf.com and fill out the form, or contact Tom Mast at 417-268-3000 or [email protected].
I’d like to advertise my business in the festival magazine this year. How do I do that?
Contact Tom Mast at 417-268-3000 or [email protected].
I’m a marching-band or performance-group director. How can I apply for my group to march or perform in the parade?
Please tell us about your marching band or group by downloading filling out this application and emailing it to Cora Scott at [email protected] or mailing it to her attention at City of Springfield Public Information Office, 840 Boonville, 4th floor, Springfield MO 65802. We're looking for the most entertaining marching bands, drum and bugle corps, military bands and community bands of all shapes and sizes to entertain festival guests during the annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival parade. The most important and persuasive part of your application is a group resume, including competitions performed in and ratings, other parades and festivals you've performed in, awards and special honors and a digital photo of your group.
If you have video of your group's performance, we'd love to see it. After you've submitted your application, please email a YouTube, Vimeo or other link to your video to [email protected] for review.
Where should I park when I come downtown for the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival?
Downtown Springfield has both free and paid parking lots and garages. Visit itsalldowntown.com for a complete list.
I’m coming to the festival from out of town. Can you recommend places to stay, eat and visit?
Visit springfieldmo.org for a full listing of dining, lodging and entertainment options.
Why is Springfield, Missouri known as the Birthplace of Route 66?
U.S. 66, also known as Route 66, the Mother Road, the Main Street of America, and the Will Rogers Highway, was officially named “U.S. 66,” via telegram at a meeting of highway officials in Springfield, Missouri on April 30, 1926. Calvin Coolidge was President, Prohibition was still in full swing, motion pictures were a year away from becoming “talkies,” and Henry Ford had just lowered the price of the automobile. The stage was set for what would become not only the country’s first cross-country highway, but an enduring piece of Americana that travelers from around the world still yearn to experience.
In 1992, on the Mother Road’s 66th anniversary, the Route 66 Association of Missouri designated Springfield as the official Birthplace of Route 66 with a placard, now located on the east side of Park Central Square.
How is Springfield embracing its Route 66 legacy?
A collective effort by the City of Springfield, Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, History Museum on the Square, West Central Neighborhood Alliance, Downtown Springfield Association and the Route 66 Association of Missouri, business owners and Route 66 enthusiasts, has resulted in interest in the redevelopment of Springfield’s stretch of the Mother Road.
In August 2014, the City of Springfield cut the ribbon for the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park on West College Street between Fort and Broadway avenues.
“I’d like to see Springfield become THE stop along the Mother Road. Our Route 66 history is a source of community pride for us,” says Springfield City Manager Greg Burris.
The first featured element of the park, a replica of the Red’s Giant Hamburg sign, was dedicated at the celebration. Additional plans for the park include incorporating memories of local Route 66 landmarks, restrooms, visitor information and a history plaza. Work will begin on the College and Broadway streetscape project near the park in the summer of 2016. While the City will fund infrastructure improvements along the College Street stretch of Historic Route 66 between Grant Avenue and Kansas Expressway, it must leverage its investment in the project with private donations and other funding sources. A larger plan to revitalize Historic Route 66 through other parts of Springfield could roll out in phases, as the City gauges interest and potential funding. If you’d like to be part of the Route 66 SGF legacy, considering helping us fund the Plaza Clock Tower for the College and Broadway streetscape project on Give Ozarks Day May 3.
In 2013, Springfield’s History Museum on the Square opened a temporary Route 66 exhibit, which drew more than 10,000 visitors from 21 countries. A permanent Route 66 exhibit will be featured once the museum completes its expansion.
I’d like to visit some Route 66 points of interest while I’m in town. Can you recommend some good places to stop?
Sure! We’ve put together a great listing of several points of interest, as well as a “virtual” trip down the Mother Road in and around Springfield. Take a look!
Thanks again for your interest and participation in the 2016 Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. We can’t wait to see you in August!