Festival meeting 3-17-21

The Lebanon Route 66 Festival Committee listens to Ashton Light, back-left corner of table, discuss activities for Friday night of this year's festival.

The new Boswell Park amphitheater will be located about where the stage has been for the past four Lebanon Route 66 Festivals, Bruce Owen, president of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society, announced Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the Lebanon Route 66 Festival Committee.

Owen, who had confirmed the new location with city officials just before the meeting, said bids solicited by the city earlier this week for the amphitheater’s concrete work are for the new location. The goal still is to have the amphitheater ready for this year’s festival on Father’s Day weekend.

“The only thing that can hold us up is the weather (delaying construction),” Owen said.

Owen and several board members met last week with the Lebanon Park Board -- and separately with park and city officials -- to ask that the amphitheater be moved from its planned location in right-center field of the park’s former ballfield. In that scenario, performers using the amphitheater would face home plate and the residential neighborhood at the south edge of the park instead of toward where most park events are held.

In the ensuing days, everyone who needed to agree with the change did so, for which the Route 66 Society was grateful.

“The advantage to (the new location) is that you can project sound to the whole park,” Vice President Leland Townsend said Wednesday.

Owen added: “It will be worth it to do it right.”

This year’s Lebanon Route 66 Festival, presented by Heritage Bank of the Ozarks, will be June 18-19 with Friday evening’s activities in downtown Lebanon and Saturday’s daytime events at Route 66-themed Boswell Park. The festival then moves to the iconic Munger Moss Motel for a celebration of its 75th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of its ownership by Ramona and the late Bob Lehman. This will be Lebanon’s 14th Route 66 Festival since 2001.

This year’s theme ties in with the Missouri Bicentennial: “200 Years of Missouri, 95 Years of Route 66.” The committee is attempting to get a speaker for a presentation on the bicentennial.

Ashton Light, Downtown Business District executive director, gave an update Tuesday on events currently planned for the Friday night:

Phat Mike and the Bartenders will perform from 7 to 10 p.m. at Madison and Commercial streets. Food trucks will serve from 5 to 8 p.m. Commercial Street will be closed for a cruise-in. A Route 66 Passport will be created with each participating business representing a town along the route. The Lebanon Art Guild is planning a Route 66 theme for its building. Craft vendors are welcome; a single vendor application covering either Friday or Saturday or both will be available.

Festival Committee Chairman Jessica Rodden said Saturday’s activities will include the traditional parade down Route 66, a cruise-in, the return of the kids’ bike parade, music by The Bucket Band of Kansas City, food trucks and crafters, a cornhole tournament, face painting, a bounce house, several drawings for $66 and spoof trophy presentations for vehicles in the cruise-in.

The restored Camp Joy cabin will be open for visitors.

Sgt. Curtis Sansom announced that the Missouri Army National Guard will provide the color guard, an inflatable and a football toss and at least one military vehicle on Saturday. The National Guard also will provide several additional items needed for festival operations.

Orchard Hills Package Store, which also is celebrating its 75th anniversary on Route 66 this year, will be recognized at some point in the festival.

Boswell Park activities will end about 3 p.m. The festival then moves to the Munger Moss for the motel’s anniversary celebration that includes a cruise-in, music by Jess McEntire and the US 66 Band, a hog roast, funnel cakes and inflatables for the kids.

Applications for food trucks and craft vendors will be available soon.

Rodden said the committee’s next meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. April 21 at the Lebanon-Laclede County Library.

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