As they feasted on pastries and coffee courtesy of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society, Route 66 enthusiasts from as far away as Chippewa Falls, Wis., gathered Sunday morning in Boswell Park, where they heard greetings from Mayor Jared Carr and learned about projects by the city and the Route 66 Society to keep the spirit of The Mother Road alive locally.
It was the third and final day of Route 66 Association of Missouri Motor Tour, which arrived in Laclede County on Saturday afternoon for stops at the endangered Gasconade River Bridge and the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Museum. In the evening, the travelers from seven states enjoyed a concert on the lawn of the Munger Moss Motel by Elvis tribute artist Brian Lee Dunning.
Several Route 66 Society board members gathered in the park shortly after sunrise Sunday to hand-carry trays and tubs of fresh cinnamon rolls and other pastries, plus cups of coffee, across Route 66 from Back Rhodes Diner, a Route 66 Society business member. Travelers on the motor tour began arriving about 8 a.m.
As they finished breakfast, they visited the three Route 66 murals, the recreated Dream Village fountain and the restored Camp Joy cabin, which was open for the occasion.
Route 66 Society board member Gary Sosniecki gave a brief history of the mural and Camp Joy cabin projects, then President Bruce Owen introduced Mayor Carr, who thanked the motor tour for visiting Lebanon and discussed the importance of preserving the history of Route 66.
Then a ceremony was held to dedicate a tree in memory of the late Bill Wheeler, the first president of the Route 66 Society, the organizer of the first Lebanon Route 66 Festival and the visionary of redeveloping Boswell Park with a Route 66 theme. (See separate story.)
All speakers encouraged motor-tour travelers to return to Lebanon individually and as a group. Route 66 Association of Missouri President Rich Dinkela emphasized the importance of county organizations like the Route 66 Society and their partnerships with the state association.