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Stories of the Road
Tourists - Tully Monsters - Tall Grass Prairies
Back again after a short break in our adventures on Route 66. We hope you enjoy our accumulation of thoughts about the “Mother Road”. We recently have been made aware of the renewed interest in the history of Route 66 by the national and local news media and the human interest stories that appear regularly on T.V. And newspapers. Here in Illinois our congratulations to all of the staff and Mr. Bill Kelly of the “Illinois Mile After Magnificent Mile” publication of the 2016 issue of the Visitor's Guide If you haven't got a copy, get one to assist in all of your enjoyment of Illinois 66 and all the attractions it offers. Here are a few!!
Dwight 90th Birthday of Route 66 Ushers in an Already Busy Season Along the Mother Road
Dwight, Illinois ushered in the 90th anniversary of Route 66, with a celebration last Thursday April 21st at the restored Ambler/Becker Texaco gas station. The birthday party, which was the first 90th anniversary celebration in Illinois, included classic cars, hot dogs and cake, basset hounds and an enthusiastic crowd from all around the state. The event included an official presentation by Dwight Village President Jared Anderson, Bill Kelly of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway and Route 66 preservationist John Weiss. 
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Receives Two Awards at 2016 Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism
The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, including our staff and several board members, attended this year's Governor's Conference on Tourism in Springfield from March 21 -23. The highlight for the Byway was winning two marketing awards at the kick-off Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards Dinner - Best Branding Initiative for our Interpretive Statues project and Best Website for illinoisroute66.org. Our partner for the Interpretive Statues award was Schmeekle Reserve at the University of Wisconsin, who has been a Byway partner not only in the development of the Interpretive Statues, but also with the Byway wayside exhibits and experience hubs, located all along Illinois Route 66. Our partner for the website was BlueBolt Solutions of Chicago, and the site was designed so that the Byway staff can easily edit and add new features.

Heartland Community College Offering Illinois Route 66 Course and Tour January 28th - February 6th
A new community education class on Illinois Route 66 is being offered beginning next week at the Lincoln, Illinois campus at Heartland Community College. Join instructor Geoff Ladd, Project Administrator for Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, who will lead discussions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, January 28th through February 4th. The course will be followed by an Illinois Route 66 Tour on Saturday, February 6th.
Miles of Possibility Takeaways
The historic Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville was the setting for the Miles of Possibility conference Halloween weekend, and for me there were several important takeaways and memories. First though, I want to recognize event coordinator Cheryl Eichar Jett for her outstanding job in pulling this event off, as well as her volunteer staff that included the likes of Dave Tucker from Gillespie, IL and Sheila Martin from American Road Magazine, who was one of many people I got to meet in person for the first time.
Looking Forward to the Mother Road Festival
Having attended the International Mother Road Festival in Springfield since 2005, I'm still always looking forward to it. In addition to the incredible display of cars, we always enjoy the camaraderie of being a part of the Travel Expo, which features the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, the Route 66 associations from Illinois & Missouri, as well as several Route 66 communities and attractions.
Brooks on 66
Brooks, one of our four-legged friends, took to Route 66 in Illinois to see a few stops south of Springfield recently.  He donned his official Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway bandanna, and hopped in the car. As one of our fairly younger travelers (just recently celebrating his first birthday), he had a relatively short attention span and wanted to hit a few stops that were sure to impress. He decided to check out the Mother Road in Girard, Litchfield, and Collinsville.
World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival Marks the Historic Landmark's 66th Birthday
The rain took a break on Sunday July 12th, 2015, to give the citizens of Collinsville and the Route 66 community an opportunity to celebrate the 66th birthday of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle - a member of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The giant Brooks Catsup Bottle was restored in the late 90s, and remains a beautiful photo opportunity along the road. This icon has generated it's own fan club and it's own festival for the last 17 years.
Traveling the Very First Blue Carpet Corridor
When a new Route 66 event launches in Illinois, even ominous rainy weather does not hamper the enthusiasm. The inaugural Blue Carpet Corridor, with events and sites to see in 18 southern Illinois communities, was a perfect example. The event had been in discussion for some time, when the late Stan Barker "pulled the trigger" and history was made last weekend, June 13th & 14th, 2015. Stan didn't live to see his dream come true, but incredible volunteers from the communities and key leadership roles taken on by Cheryl Eichar Jett from Edwardsville and Dave Tucker from Gillespie made sure the event still happened, and in a big way.
Selfies on 66 Suggestions for William Shatner on his Route 66 Road Trip
Canadian newspaper "The Prince George Citizen" announced recently that William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on Star Trek and a police officer on T.J. Hooker, will be traveling Route 66 this summer on a futuristic custom motorcycle manufactured by Rivet. Shatner's Twitter feed pegs the dates as during the week of June 23-June 30. The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway would like to suggest a few appropriate Selfies on 66 for Mr. Shatner to take and enter in our Selfieson66.com campaign! We certainly feel the most logical selfie (and hopefully Spock would have agreed), would be a Shatner Selfie with yet another famous space traveler - the Gemini Giant in Wilmington!
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