Kingman lands 2014 Route 66 Festival

 Daily  Comments Off on Kingman lands 2014 Route 66 Festival
Aug 052013
 




Kingman residents and businesses have a year to dust off their saddle shoes, glam up their retro rides and spruce up their storefronts before putting out the welcome mat for the Route 66 Alliance’s annual Route 66 International Festival.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase Kingman as more than just a stop on Route 66,” said Mother Road historian Jim Hinckley. “It is an opportunity to come together as a community and say with pride, ‘Welcome to our town.'”

The Alliance announced that Kingman was the winner of next year’s Route 66 festival as this year’s festival in Joplin, Mo. wound down Saturday evening. The annual event brings approximately 10,000 people to the event city.

Hinckley has been working with Josh Noble, the executive director of tourism for the Kingman Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Wagner from Re/Max on Hualapai Mountain Road for more than a year to bring the festival to Kingman.

“It started after I ran into Rick Freeland (one of the co-founders of the Route 66 Alliance) last year at the festival in Victorville, Calif.,” Hinckley said.

Freeland told him that the location of the 2013 festival was already set, but the Alliance would be more than happy to consider Kingman for the 2014 festival. When Hinckley returned to Kingman, he met with Wagner and Nobel about the idea.

“The trick was, we had to show that there was community support and involvement with the idea,” Hinckley said. “Wagner really picked up the ball and ran with that.”

While Hinckley and Nobel worked on ideas for events and contacted local artists, authors and car enthusiasts, Wagner collected more than 30 letters of support from area businesses.

And then they had to wait for word from the Alliance. The official approval came at this weekend’s festival in Joplin.

“We’ve already got a basic foundation for the festival. The theme is ‘Kingman – Crossroads of the Past & Future,” said Hinckley, who traveled Joplin this weekend.

The Kingman festival will run from Aug. 13-17 next year. It will include events at the Hualapai Mountain Resort; an exhibit of Route 66 authors, artists and collectors at the new events center in historic downtown Kingman; a film festival featuring movies that were filmed on Route 66, in Kingman or feature Andy Devine; a bowling tournament; a golf tournament; tours of Desert Diamond Distillery; activities in Hualapai Mountain Park; and car cruising at night.

Electric highway

It will also feature a special edition of Kingman’s Chillin’ on Beale car show with an exhibit of alternative energy vehicles. Hinckley and Wagner hope to get a very special guest for the display that night, a 1902 electric Studebaker owned by Don Robertson of Jerome, Ariz. The car still runs.

They also hope to install electric recharge stations along Route 66 for the festival and turn the historic highway into one of the first electric highways in the nation.

“We wanted to plan more things for people to do than they could do in one day,” Wagner said. “We wanted them to say, ‘There’s too much going on. I have to come back tomorrow.’ This is great exposure for Kingman.”

Hinckley echoed those words from Joplin.

“There are people here from as far away as Australia and Tasmania. They came here just for this festival,” he said. “The potential for Kingman is astounding.”

With all of that international and national attention focused on Kingman, it’s a great opportunity to sell Kingman as a great place to visit, and a wonderful place to start a business and raise a family, Wagner said.

“I see it as a catalyst for the transformation of Kingman,” Hinckley said. “If we can just ignite the passion for a sense of community.”

He pointed to Galena, Kan., which also sits on Route 66. The city’s economy picked up after it started marketing its connection to the historic highway, Hinckley said.

The city is home to the International Harvester truck that was the basis for the character Mater in the Disney movie “Cars.” People started moving to the area, sales tax revenues went up, new businesses started moving in, old businesses were revitalized and historic buildings were restored, he said. Kingman could do the same thing.

By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa – Daily Miner

2013 International Route 66 Festival en route to Joplin MO

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on 2013 International Route 66 Festival en route to Joplin MO
Oct 162012
 




About a month ago (or so) I posted I think it woudl be a GREAT idea to have Joplin host next years festival – it will be good to pump some much needed dollars into their economy especially after they are recovering from the 2011 tornado…

The International Route 66 Festival, an event that attracts thousands, will hit the road to Joplin next year.

Organizers of the festival, along with the director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced Tuesday that the festival will be held Aug. 1-3 in Joplin.

The event was staged this year in Victorville, Calif., and last year in Amarillo, Texas.

Michael Wallis, the Tulsa, Okla., author of “Route 66: The Mother Road” and the voice of the sheriff in the animated movie “Cars,” said the festival is set around an annual meeting of eight state associations and the National Park Service to work on strategy for preserving and promoting the historic highway.

It features exhibits and presentations by authors and artists whose subject is the route. There will be a Main Street America Marketplace where vendors sell their Route 66-related memorabilia and merchandise.

This year’s event in Victorville offered a military display, a food and wine festival, a Miss Route 66 Pageant, and a bike rally.

Patrick Tuttle, director of the local tourism bureau, said the event locations have not been decided yet, but they can be spread through the area along the route. He said it is the intent of organizers to include cities along the route in Missouri in the event and to feature products made in Missouri.

Tommy Pike, with the Route 66 Association of Missouri, said that organization was formed in early 1990 by a handful of route enthusiasts, and has grown to involve members from 30 states and other countries.

“Hopefully this will be a festival everyone can get behind despite the adversity suffered here about a year and a half ago,” Pike said, alluding to the 2011 tornado. He said he hopes the festival will be a pleasant diversion for residents and will give the area an experience to build on in celebrating its heritage along the route.

Wallis said interest in the old highway, significant as the byway that took sightseers and those seeking a fresh start to the West, is still growing.

He is the author of 17 books on the West, and was hired as the consultant for the movie “Cars” and for the new amusement attraction Cars Land in the Disneyland amusement park.

Wallis said “Cars” and Cars Land are bringing up a new generation of Route 66 fans.

Debby Woodin – The Joplin Globe