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Fifth ‘Birthplace of Route 66 Festival’ set for Aug. 14-16

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Springfield Mayor bob Stephens comments during a news conference at the Gillioz Theater announcing the fifth annual Route 66 Festival Aug 14-16 in downtown Springfield.

Springfield Mayor bob Stephens comments during a news conference at the Gillioz Theater announcing the fifth annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, Aug 14-16, in downtown Springfield.

Downtown Springfield will present the fifth annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival,  Aug. 14-16 with an expanded two-day lineup of activities, including a two-day car show and new events such as a parade,  motorcycle show and a cruise-in party. A concert at the Gillioz Theatre, drive-in movie, vendor village and 6.6k run will also return.

“We’re excited about adding another full day of festivities to the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival,” says Cora Scott, director of Public Information and Civic Engagement for the City of Springfield. “With the variety of activities and events, there will be something for everyone.”

The festival’s 2015 presenting sponsors are KY3 and Aaron Sachs & Associates. Various groups have partnered with the City of Springfield to make this festival possible, including Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven, West Central Neighborhood Association and Urban Districts Alliance. Some proceeds of the festival’s various activities will benefit the City of Springfield’s Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park Fund.

The festival coincides with the first phase of the Route 66 Roadside Park.

Springfield is officially recognized as the birthplace of what became known as the iconic “Mother Road.” It was on April 30, 1926 at Park Central Square where officials first proposed U.S. 66 as the name of the new Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway. The highway remains a cultural icon around which everything from drive-through restaurants and diners to drive-in movies and music flourished. The impetus for the historic Gillioz Theater was the construction of the road.

Route 66 meandered across the city from Kearney to Glenstone to St. Louis Street, through Park Central Square to Olive and College streets, then headed west along what is now Chestnut Expressway.

For more information about the 2015 festival and to register for the car and motorcycle show or the 6.6k run, please visit the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival Web site at http://www.route66festivalsgf.com.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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