More live music, more food, more crafters and more games are on tap as plans take shape for Lebanon’s 11th Route 66 Festival on Father’s Day weekend.
This year’s festival will celebrate the new slogan identifying Lebanon as the “Heart of Route 66.”
For the second year, the festival will be a partnership between the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society and the Lebanon Parks and Recreation Department.
“I look forward to seeing our Route 66 family for a fun-filled two days,” said Loretta Young, chairman of the Route 66 Society’s Festival Committee.
All events are free and open to the public. Attendees should bring lawn chairs or blankets, as no formal seating is available.
The festival again will be held in two locations, both on Route 66. Starting at 4 p.m. Friday June 15, attendees will gather outside the 72-year-old Munger Moss Motel, one of only a handful of existing Lebanon businesses that were operating on Route 66 before it was bypassed locally by Interstate 44 in 1957.
On Saturday, activities will move to Boswell Park, which has been redeveloped with a Route 66 theme, including three murals depicting local Route 66 history. The last mural was unveiled May 6, culminating the $75,000 project financed with local donations.
“We’re excited to put this festival together,” Young said. “The Route 66 Festival is a good way to remember our history and celebrate our rich heritage on Route 66 in Lebanon, Missouri.”
Lebanon Route 66 Festivals were held from 2001 to 2009 and resumed last year on Father’s Day weekend at the request of the parks department. “People tell me they like that we’ll always have it on Fathers Day weekend,” Young said.
Munger Moss co-owner Ramona Lehman said she envisions Friday evening as a casual get-together. “I just want something where people can bring their chairs, sit around and visit -- old-timers come and tell their stories about Route 66.
“I want people just to congregate and have fun.”
Friday events will include a cruise-in for antique, classic and custom cars, food – burgers, hotdogs and pulled pork -- served by Route 66 Firefighter Association, other refreshment vendors, Route 66 memorabilia booths and music by the Tennessee-based US 66 Band, featuring Jess McEntire, a favorite at Lebanon Route 66 events.
“I want people to dance out there,” Lehman said.
McEntire will auction off a guitar autographed by country-music legend Loretta Lynn. A portion of proceeds from CD sales will be donated by the band to the Route 66 Billboard Association.
Saturday’s festivities at Boswell Park begin at 9 a.m. “We’re expanding the crafters into a grassy, shaded area this year,” Young said, adding that some prime spots for crafters remain. For information, contact Young at (417) 718-5163 or email@example.com.
Lineup for the parade of antique, classic and custom cars will start at 9 a.m. on Wyota Drive in the Lebanon Industrial Park, east of the Munger Moss on Route 66.
The parade will roll at 10 a.m., following the route of Route 66 west to Boswell Park where cars will be directed into the cul de sac and other parking areas for a cruise-in. Although all antique, classic and custom cars are welcome at the cruise-in, those participating in the parade will be given priority positions for parking. Non-participants may line up on Owen Drive next to Scott Chase State Farm Insurance until it’s their turn to enter the park.
This year’s parade will feature a grand marshal, who will be named later.
There is no fee for cars to participate in the cruise-in. Each will receive a gift bag that includes a ticket for $66 drawings that will be held both days.
Parking for other festival attendees will be available at Nelson Park and locations to be announced. A parking shuttle courtesy of Laclede Electric Cooperative will operate between the remote parking areas and Boswell Park.
The Route 66 Society will sell 2018 festival T-shirts both days featuring a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS/RS 350, owned by Kenny and Susan Pearcy of Lebanon, parked in front of Route 66 landmark Wrinks Market. The Camaro defeated 27 other vehicles to win the Route 66 Society’s online “Park it at the Market” contest. Nearly 3,000 votes were cast in the contest. The Route 66 Society also will sell decals featuring its new logo.
Young said four bands offering a wide variety of music will perform continuously from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The bands are Coday Country, Dixie Hix, Long Hard Road and Jess McEntire and the US 66 Band.
An expanded list of family games is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon in front of the stage. Games include a “Gasconade Bridge” casting contest, relay games from age 1 to 108, a sucker lickoff, a gunny-sack race and a stick-horse race. Each participant will receive a prize every time he or she plays.
Food trucks will serve a variety of items, including barbecue, burgers, walking tacos, funnel cakes, kettle corn, pork rinds, Italian ice, fresh-squeezed lemonade and soda floats.
The festival ends at 4 p.m. Saturday.
With a month to go, the Route 66 Festival schedule continues to be fine-tuned.
“The festival is like a puzzle,” Young said. “All the pieces are falling into place.”