LEBANON, Missouri- Here it is! Everything you need to know about this weekend’s Lebanon Route 66 Festival!
Route 66 came through Lebanon in 1926, forever ensuring the good fortune that resulted from being on “The Main Street of America.” This weekend, Lebanon will celebrate that good fortune with its 11th Route 66 Festival.
The festival, a partnership between the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society and the Lebanon Parks and Recreation Department, again will be held in two locations, both on Route 66.
Friday evening’s festivities will be 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 move to Boswell Park, which has been redeveloped with a Route 66 theme, including three murals depicting local Route 66 history.
“This is a good opportunity to celebrate our history and our rich local heritage of Route 66,” Loretta Young, chairman of the Route 66 Society’s Festival Committee, said.
All events are free and open to the public. Attendees should bring lawn chairs or blankets, as no formal seating is available.
The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday at the Munger Moss Motel with a cruise-in of antique, classic and custom cars, food and other vendors. Live music will be performed throughout the evening by Jess McEntire and the US 66 Band from Nashville. “I look forward to it,” McEntire, who performed both days of last year’s festival, said last week.
Later that evening, McEntire will auction off a guitar autographed by country-music legend Loretta Lynn.
Cars participating in the cruise-in are asked to park in the Munger Moss parking lot. Others should park across the street at the old Forest Manor Motel and up and down Route 66. Several nearby businesses – The Vintage Cowgirl at Wrinks Market; Tires, Brakes & More; Starlite Lanes, and Taylor’s Dairy Joy — are planning a “Route 66 Block Party” that evening with their own promotions.
Saturday’s festivities at Boswell Park begin at 9 a.m. when craft booths and memorabilia vendors open. Proceeds go to the Route 66 Billboard Association.
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.
Janet McAllister, whose late husband, Dr. Jack McAllister, organized car shows at Hillbilly Days every year, will serve as grand marshal, riding in “Big Red,” her 1973 red Cadillac Eldorado convertible.
Parade coordinator Leland Townsend said more than 100 vehicles are expected.
There is no fee for cars to participate in the parade or the cruise-ins on either day. No pre-registration is required. Each participant will receive a gift bag that includes a ticket for drawings for $66 cash and other prizes that will be held once Friday night and every 30 minutes Saturday. Tickets for that drawing and a 50/50 drawing will be available at the Route 66 Society booth both days.
The Route 66 Society will sell 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 Route 66 Society also will sell decals featuring its new logo.
Four bands are scheduled to perform Saturday starting with Leon Lindsey and The Gang at 10 a.m. The Long Hard Road Band, featuring Gene Hoke, Kenny Capps and guests, will perform at 11:30 a.m., followed by Chester Wood and Spring Hollow Band at 12:45 p.m. and Jess McEntire and the US 66 Band at 2:15 p.m.
Young described the bands as “well-known local favorites. We picked the bands because there’s a variety of music – pop, country, bluegrass and soft rock. Each band has a wide genre of music, so it will appeal to people all day long.”
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.
Young encouraged those attending the festival to park in designated lots, including at Maplecrest School, Nelson Park and its fish-pond parking area, and D&A Distributing, then ride the Laclede Electric Cooperative shuttle to Boswell Park. To avoid congestion at the park, she suggests turning south on Madison at Lindsey Ford or on Utah at D&A Distributing to reach the designated lots. Parking also is available at Trinity Lutheran Church. Handicapped parking is available at Boswell Park.
The festival ends at 4 p.m. Saturday.
A schedule of festival events can be found on LebanonRoute66.com.