Route 66 Festivals and Annual Events [A Comprehensive Guide]

Route 66, often called the “Mother Road,” holds a special place in American history. Its 2,448 miles stretch across eight states, from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, and has captivated both locals and tourists with its unique charm and historical significance.

One of the fascinating elements of Route 66 is the wealth of festivals and annual events along this iconic highway, bringing people together in celebration of music, art, and culture.

Throughout the year, communities along Route 66 host various events that showcase the local culture while also paying tribute to the legacy of the historic route.

These festivals and annual events often feature live music, classic car shows, parades, food, and other entertainment that capture the spirit of life on “America’s Main Street.” Traveling through the various states gives us an authentic taste of the diverse cultures and traditions that have shaped Route 66 over the years.

From Illinois to California, these Route 66 festivities and annual gatherings are a testament to the enduring appeal of the highway and its role in American culture.

Whether exploring the route’s rich history or simply enjoying local attractions and entertainment, these events provide an unforgettable experience for everyone who visits. As we continue to cherish Route 66, we must support these festivals and their cultural significance, celebrating the spirit of adventure and unity on the open road.

Festivals along Route 66

Mother Road Festival

The Route 66 Mother Road Festival is a major annual event in Illinois. Scheduled for September 22-24, 2023, this festival offers activities such as classic car shows, live music, and vendors selling Route 66 memorabilia.

The Mother Road Festival is known for bringing together thousands of car enthusiasts, tourists, and locals alike, creating a vibrant atmosphere that celebrates the iconic American highway.

Route 66 Fun Run

The Route 66 Fun Run is another annual event that brings together participants worldwide to enjoy a scenic and enjoyable walk or run along the historic highway.

This non-competitive, three-day event is designed for individuals of all ages and skill levels and covers approximately 140 miles of Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman in Arizona.

Participants can enjoy checkpoints along the way, where local communities often host mini-festivals with live music, food vendors, and other entertainment options.

Texas Route 66 Festival

Featuring a mix of music, food, and classic cars, the Texas Route 66 Festival offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the rich history and culture of the Texas stretch of Route 66.

The event is held annually, attracting tourists, locals, and Route 66 enthusiasts nationwide. Attendees can enjoy various activities such as live bands playing different genres of music, art exhibitions, and delicious food from local vendors.

The Texas Route 66 Festival provides an unforgettable experience for those who wish to immerse themselves in the spirit of the Mother Road.

Throughout these festivals, we can see that Route 66 has not lost its charm and is an essential part of American cultural heritage. With events like the Mother Road Festival, Route 66 Fun Run, and Texas Route 66 Festival, the legacy of this iconic highway lives on, attracting tourists and enthusiasts each year.

So, if you’re planning a trip along Mother Road, check out these incredible events and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere and history of Route 66.

Activities and Attractions

Historic Tours

One of the best ways to explore Route 66 is through its historic tours. These tours take you through iconic towns and cities like Bloomington, Springfield, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City and provide a glimpse into the past. Various options are available, such as guided tours or self-guided ones, letting you dive into the rich history of this famous highway.

Many of these activities and tours offer free admission or discounted rates, making them affordable options for travelers. Some popular stops along the historic tours include Downtown Bloomington and the historic sites of Springfield.

Along the way, you will encounter numerous roadside attractions that have been preserved or restored for visitors to enjoy. Historic Route 66 is an ideal location for exploring American culture, with unique memorabilia and artifacts waiting to be discovered.

Car Shows

Route 66 is popular for its various car shows year-round in multiple locations. These car shows feature an array of classic, vintage, and even modern cars, drawing in enthusiasts and visitors alike. Many of these car shows offer free admission and an excellent opportunity to view some of the finest automobiles in pristine condition.

One of the most popular car shows is held in Downtown Bloomington, where automobile enthusiasts gather to showcase their classic, vintage, and modified cars. This event is not only a chance to see these magnificent machines up close but also an opportunity to meet and connect with fellow car fanatics.

In conclusion, we encourage you to experience the historic tours and car shows along Route 66. Both activities offer an engaging and immersive experience of American history, culture, and tradition. Whether exploring the iconic towns and cities or marveling at well-preserved classic vehicles, Route 66 has something for everyone to enjoy.

Lively Music Scene

Music at the Festivals

Route 66 is renowned for its lively music scene, with numerous festivals and annual events along the historic highway. We can experience diverse live entertainment catering to various musical tastes.

Part of the charm of these events is the trademark multi-ethnic diversity of everyday music making. Each festival offers something unique for its attendees, from local artists to international performers. We’ll find genres such as jazz, rock, blues, country, and even classical compositions played across various stages.

One of the main reasons for attending these festivals is the allure of live music, which remains an essential part of the music industry. Music enthusiasts and tourists alike are drawn to the energy and excitement of live performances, creating a vibrant atmosphere that permeates the entire Route 66 corridor.

To make the most of your Route 66 experience, consider planning your trip around one of these annual music festivals:

  • Tulsa Mayfest (Tulsa, Oklahoma): Besides featuring local and regional musicians, this event offers fine arts, crafts, and renowned food vendors.
  • Fiesta de la Flor (Corpus Christi, Texas): Celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez with live music, an outdoor dance party, and various tribute events.
  • Route 66 International Film Festival (Springfield, Illinois): Although not strictly a music festival, this event screens films with prominent music themes and frequently hosts live performances.
  • Music on Main (Tucumcari, New Mexico): Complete with car shows, crafts, food vendors, and various live genres.

Several of these events are staged at traditional venues or even unconventional spaces, contributing to the maturation of the event industry and enhancing the overall experience for festival-goers.

We hope this information helps to enrich your journey along the iconic Route 66, taking you on a diverse and thrilling adventure through the world of live music — ensuring your trip is truly unforgettable.