As celebrations go, we think the Route 66 International Festival was top-notch. On behalf of our community and our readers, we want to thank the Route 66 Alliance for choosing Joplin as the site of the festival.
We also tip our hat to the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and all the local volunteers who made it a great event.
Michael Wallis, one of the co-founders of the Route 66 Alliance and the man providing the voice of the sheriff in the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars,” signed about 2,200 autographs in Carthage. He called his fan base “future road warriors.”
We like the idea that there are those who are keeping the story of America’s Mother Road alive. As a result of the festival, it’s clear that our own appreciation has been rekindled. Events promoted the history of the route from Vinita, Okla., to Carthage, Mo., with stops in Kansas in between.
And it seems like every time there’s a discussion about Route 66, we learn something new or discover something new right here in our own backyard.
A lot of work and planning went into the event, from the car cruising, to the kids roadie parade.
With that said, it would be a shame to wait 20 years for Joplin to get another turn to be hosts for the festival.
Wallis described the success of the event this way:
“Route 66 is a linear village that has no state lines, county boundaries or city limits. We have to work together, and we saw that beginning to happen for the first time in Joplin.”
It’s an experience we would love to repeat again somewhere down the road.