The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival

Like the historic highway that we’re celebrating, the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival started with modest beginnings and has grown to become a nationally-recognized event. In 2010, Springfield’s West Central Neighborhood Alliance decided to have a car show to raise funds to improve College Avenue, the portion of Historic Route 66 that is in Springfield.

Along the way and with added partners and sponsors, the fundraiser exploded into a festival, including a motorcycle show, a parade, national-level musical acts, a vendor village and more. The event has seen massive growth, even in recent years, bringing 7,000 people together in 2014 and 38,000 by 2016. The foresight and dedication of the festival’s founding group has paved the way for continued expansion.

In 2015, Aaron Sachs and Associates joined the festival as a presenting sponsor, and introduced the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association as beneficiaries of the Gypsy Tour and Poker Run. This group is a close-knit brotherhood of veterans who have served in combat, from all different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, who are hobby motorcyclists. The nonprofit is dedicated to aiding veterans, and they work locally with The Kitchen to serve veterans in need.

As the festival continues, so does its impact. We’re meeting the needs of Historic Route 66, and going above and beyond to serving the people who call this road home. The proceeds from ticket sales are now benefiting three different charities, including the West Central Neighborhood Alliance and the Revitalization of Route 66, the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. Thanks to the general ticket sales, raffle sales, and even a portion of certain special events, like concerts, the impact from the events on the weekend of August 11 will last much longer. This event is community-driven and the funds raised are going to directly aid our own, thanks to help from these nonprofits.

And what’s a community without a little fun, too? We have some really exciting things in store for you this year, including a bigger and better-than-ever Motorcycle Village. Make sure to stop by Motorcycle Village for the latest in gear and accessories to improve riding on bikes of all kinds. For bikers and non-bikers alike, we have some of the best local shopping, restaurants, food trucks, cold beverage stations and more for all of your favorite activities in one place.

On Friday, August 11, we will host the third annual Birthplace of Route 66 Parade, a great event for the whole family to attend. The parade route will begin at the intersection of Grant Ave. and College St. and end on St. Louis St. and National Ave. The prime viewing area for the parade will be at a grandstand just north of the Expo Center on St. Louis Street, where Springfield Little Theater’s Y.E.S. Troupe will be kicking off the festivities with a performance at 6:00 p.m. Parade attendees can expect to see a number of motorcycles, floats and classic cars. Other kid-friendly activities over the weekend include a special exhibit at the Discovery Center, “America’s Road: The Journey of Route 66” and a special screening of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” on Friday evening at Founder’s Park.

A new addition this year is the unveiling of the “Mother Roadster”. Along with a number of automotive shops, Aaron Sachs and Associates has donated energy, muscle and parts to rebuild a 1932 Ford Roadster that one lucky individual will win in a raffle to benefit the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. On Saturday, August 12 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the Mother Roadster will be on display alongside a private car collection at the Shrine Mosque. The Route 66 Poker Run and the Open Road Girl Rally are two other exciting additions to the festival, which you can read more about on page xx and xx, respectively.

On the Aaron Sachs Stage, there will be a national-level act as well as a number of local bands playing during the daytime events. On Friday, August 11, come see Big & Rich perform in the first ever outdoor concert hosted by the historic Gillioz Theater. Big & Rich has graciously agreed to donate a portion of each ticket sale to the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. The following evening, the legendary Three Dog Night will be playing in the historic Gillioz as part of the Route 66 Signature Concert Series.

We hope that you’ll find that all in all, we at Aaron Sachs and Associates are passionate about and committed to community service. Our community, and Route 66, wouldn’t be what it is without the good people that make the Ozarks a great place to call home. That’s what this whole

Written by Ana Pierce, fellow Ozarkian and Blog Contributor to Ozarks On Two Wheels

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