August 08, 2019
When you plant a seed in Downtown Springfield, there’s no telling how much fruit will grow.
The first Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, back in 2011, was a “glorified block party” when it started, Downtown Springfield Association executive director Rusty Worley told the Springfield News-Leader. The 9th Annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, Aug. 9-10, will look entirely different.
Organizers expect more than 600 classic cars and 60,000 guests at this year’s festival. It will take place in and around Park Central Square in Downtown Springfield. Both cars and guests will come to the Queen City of the Ozarks from across the country.
The event’s growth can be attributed to several factors. They include great organization, incredible partners (like the City of Springfield, KY3 and Aaron Sachs), a worldwide passion for Historic Route 66 and the perfect neighborhood to host the festival.
That block party is now a major two-day event, complete with vendors, a parade, a poker run, a 6.6K race, live music and so much more. Here are six things to know about the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.
There’s no admission fee for the event and many of the scheduled festivities. Browse the car show and charity motorcycle show. Enjoy Friday night’s parade and live music on two different stages. Take in performances from Pogo Fred and others in Motorcycle Village. You won’t pay a penny for any of this family-friendly entertainment. That includes an ice cream social on Park Central Square after the parade, hosted by KY3.
One new addition in 2019 is the Women’s World Expo, inside the Shrine Mosque. The women-focused event has lots of great vendors indoors. The hours are noon-6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. You can also find authors, artists, collectors and more at the Old Glass Place from noon-4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. There are also rest areas for guests to stay hydrated and refreshed. The U.S. Bank on St. Louis Street will serve as one of those rest areas this year.
As if you needed any more reasons to check out the newly-expanded History Museum on the Square. The museum opened its doors to the public Aug. 8 and features six permanent galleries. One of them is dedicated to the Birthplace of Route 66. While you’re on the Square, check out “Memories of the Mother Road: Route 66 through Springfield.” Admission to the museum ranges from $10-$16.
Get a good look at Route 66 in the 6.6K run/walk Saturday at 7 a.m. You’ll run — or walk — the Mother Road in Downtown Springfield on the route. It starts and ends at Regall College Station, at the corner of Campbell and College. Day-of registration for the race is $35.
Check out well-known Branson acts like The Baldknobbers, Decades/Pierce Arrow and Parrotville at the Branson Experience Stage on the Square. The Aaron Sachs Stage in Motorcycle Village will feature some of the Springfield area’s favorite musical acts. Makenna & Brock, Lyal Strickland and Mark Chapman all play Friday. The Dirty Saints, Machine Gun Symphony and Members Only wrap up the festival Saturday night. And it’s all free!
As always, there’s plenty of free parking in Downtown Springfield. Keep your eyes peeled for free street parking around the neighborhood. There are also two free parking garages close to the action — at College Station and next to the Heer’s building.
Come check out the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival this weekend! For a full schedule and more information, visit route66festivalsgf.com.