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1/29/2014 6:00:00 AM
Vintage electric cars to join Kingman's Route 66 celebration
Courtesy
Courtesy
Top: The “Electric Shopper” was an electric vehicle built  by The Electric Car Company of California, which was formed in 1951 in Long  Beach. The model FG-75 fiberglass “Electric Shopper” debuted in 1960 and only lasted until 1962, when the company was sold. Bottom: The world’s first electric Street Rod, a 1929 Ford Roadster, has been featured in several magazines and international car shows. It will be coming to the International Route 66 Festival in Kingman as part of the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation’s exhibit of alternative energy vehicles. (Courtesy)
Top: The “Electric Shopper” was an electric vehicle built by The Electric Car Company of California, which was formed in 1951 in Long Beach. The model FG-75 fiberglass “Electric Shopper” debuted in 1960 and only lasted until 1962, when the company was sold. Bottom: The world’s first electric Street Rod, a 1929 Ford Roadster, has been featured in several magazines and international car shows. It will be coming to the International Route 66 Festival in Kingman as part of the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation’s exhibit of alternative energy vehicles. (Courtesy)
Chamber defines role in August festival
KINGMAN - After much soul-searching and hours of meetings and discussion, the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce agreed Tuesday to take over the core of the International Route 66 Festival and promote the upcoming event to the world.

Director Pam Wilkinson said that even though the mission of the chamber is to support and promote its business members, adding the festival to its duties is not such a far-fetched idea.

The chamber's board of directors voted Tuesday to take on the event and place it under the agency's economic development arm. The chamber has about 440 business members.

Wilkinson said that during the meeting, one of the board members questioned how she would explain the board's decision to other chamber members. Specifically, she said, how the chamber could justify spending time and energy on the festival when only a very small portion of the chamber population would benefit?

The ensuing discussion was intense.

The board agreed to take responsibility for the festival's welcoming ceremony and for the Authors, Artists & Collectors Exhibition. Wilkinson said the board marked those activities as the defining events of the festival. Also, the board agreed to promote the entire event, which will include designing a program, creating an event calendar and featuring it on the chamber's website.

"I think this is a great thing," said Wilkinson. "Really, this is a community endeavor that will help every business, whether they're in the hospitality industry or not. We're really happy that our role has been defined. The festival is going to happen and we have an opportunity to try right now to make it the best place to showcase our city and our area."

Kingman was chosen Aug. 3 as the 2014 site for the Route 66 Alliance's annual festival during last year's event in Joplin, Mo. The event will feature a variety of activities Aug. 14-17 throughout the Kingman area, including golf and bowling tournaments, railroad and car shows, wine and rum tastings, tours, and an exhibition of authors, artists and collectors.

Originally, the festival was snagged by organizers Steve and Mike Wagner, local Route 66 author Jim Hinckley and Joshua Noble, director of tourism for the Kingman Visitor Center. They applied for the honor of hosting the festival after about 30 local businesses issued letters of support for the move. But since then, the festival has grown and morphed into a full-time effort.

"I think this is a natural evolution," said Mike Wagner. "When we obtained the event from the Route 66 Alliance, the idea was always to spotlight all of the greater Kingman area. We always felt there should be involvement with the chamber, because the chamber is the link to all the businesses, and the businesses are the ones who want to get involved and do all these events. We're very excited about the chamber handling everything and it's what we hoped would happen."

Wilkinson said that like the other cities that hosted the event over the years, Kingman will be able to design its own role in how the festival is run. That means the chamber can focus on its own events while the other businesses and organizations run theirs as they want, all while marketing and promoting the activities through the chamber.

"This isn't really going to change the festival," said Wilkinson. "It's just an organizational tool to make sure that everything we've said will happen is going to actually happen. We're promoting the festival in its entirety, and the other events are being put on by other entities. We're just putting our name on it, for whatever that's worth."


Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - The upcoming International Route 66 Festival is beginning to attract some big guns to the city for the event.

The Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation Board of Directors recently voted unanimously to attend the festival and support making Route 66 the first national electric highway. The nonprofit foundation is located in Carlsborg, Wash., and its mission is to teach the history of electric vehicles and preserve examples of them. It wants to build the first international electric vehicle museum.

Roderick Wilde, the foundation's executive director, said the festival's theme of "Kingman - Crossroads of the Past and Future" first got the board's attention, but the conferences and exhibits clinched the deal. The conferences include "Route 66: America's First Electric Highway," which will feature presentations about the history and use of electric vehicles, and installing charging stations along the Mother Road to make it the nation's first electric highway. It also focuses on the development of Route 66 and includes an exhibit of alternative energy vehicles.

Wilde said electric vehicles are important to the future of the U.S. because they are an efficient use of energy, save money and release the nation from being hostage to oil-rich countries that demand top dollar for their fuel. Wilde said bringing electric vehicles to the festival helps educate people about their uses.

"Most people do not even realize that at the turn of the [last] century, in this country, there were almost twice as many registered eclectic cars on the road as gasoline-powered vehicles," said Wilde. "EVs have a very rich history and have continued to be a very important part of our economy, although until the last decade they were mostly used for industrial purposes. This is a very exciting time to be alive and witness the new age of the electric vehicle."

Topics at the conference will include the role of electric vehicles in the development of the American auto industry, use of Route 66 popularity to stimulate interest in electric vehicles, statewide initiatives for developing infrastructure on the Mother Road for electric vehicles, bicycle tourism, methods to attract a new generation to Route 66, projects currently under development, building coalitions to preserve historic infrastructure, the road's international appeal, historic motel acquisition, and Route 66 success stories.

A tentative list of speakers includes Wilde, Jerry Asher of the Tucson Electric Vehicle Association, local Mother Road author Jim Hinckley, Kumar Patel of Wigwam Motel in Rialto, Dan Rice of the Route 66 Alliance, Renee Charles of the Kansas Route 66 Association and Kaisa Barthuli, who is program manager of the National Park Service's Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

Asher, who has driven across the U.S. in electric vehicles for years to show off their viability and endurance, will be speaking about plug-in hybrid cars, such as the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius, and the advantages of making Route 66 into what he calls the Green Mother Road.

"A conference like this is important," said Asher. "Energy independence has been the battle cry in the U.S., and it's nonpartisan. There are a lot of possibilities out there that we can tap into, and if we had energy independence, we could get away from importing oil and the possibility of the pollution that is found in China. Why don't we bring back our production base with this new technology?"

The foundation will be bringing six electric vehicles of historical significance to the festival for exhibition.

They include a 1930 Detroit Electric, a 1960 Electric Shopper, a 1961 Trident and the world's first electric street rod, a 1929 Ford Roadster that has been featured in several magazines and international car shows.

Also, John Wayland, the foundation's marketing director, will be driving a 400-mile range EV2 that he created from Oregon to the festival.

ICT - Trotters RV
Related Stories:
• Reunion comes to Kingman for festival's kicks
• Route 66 Festival planning stagnates
• Route 66 update: Remembering the bat guano incident
• Route 66 Festival a rare opportunity for Kingman
• It's official: Kingman lands Route 66 Festival


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Norman Fisk

The chamber should take the opportunity to thank Jim Hinckley and Steve Wagner for all the work in getting this event to Kingman. If it were not for them it would have never happened. Kudos to these men and others in seeing the good for Kingman.

Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"......give some help to companies that make them"

You mean like the $$$help$$$ that was given to green companies like:

Solyndra..........................$535 million
Abound Solar..................$400 million
A123 Systems................$279 million

The above companies all went bankrupt, sticking taxpayers with the bill. But I'm sure a 47% would not be troubled by that.

And yes, even a car company. Fisker Automotive, which defaulted on their 528 million dollars in govt backed loans.

Here's a thought, invest your own money in a company making them. Don't insist the govt invest everyone's money but yours.

You really don't do any research at all before typing your astoundingly naive comments, do you?

LOL



Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: Kingman Business Owner

I was a Chamber member seven years ago dropped out because they do not do anything for a business owner’s. Yesterday at lunch with friends I heard a couple board members really put the heat to the board. I heard Earl Hamlyn while discussing the Route 66 Festival had a several hot questions about the Festival and the way the broad works and Cherish Samalli questioned the chamber’s motive about being involved in this Festival.
About time the Chamber got some good board members. I may become a Chamber member again with board members like these two.


Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: Sharon L

Thought the purpose of a chamber of commerce is to promote the city and local business. Perhaps if they weren't so "self serving", more businesses would join? I was a chamber of commerce member in another city. All they did was have luncheons, self serving events, and served as a platform for the social climbers in town. I really wish them luck and success. Kingman needs to really pull it together for this event.

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: R .

This is a great thing for the city of Kingman...watch all the idiots start their infighting, per usual, and ruin it for the rest of us!

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

As a kid growing up in California I remember the electric cars like the one in the picture. Many older people who lived close to town would use them for going to the store or just to cruise over and see a friend. I would love to see these cars make a comeback for many reasons. For this to happen we need people in political office that work for all of us not just the oil companies. Todays technology could improve these cars and make them a viable product but we need the help of politicians to give some help to the companies that make them. Not put up roadblocks to there use. That won't happen in Kingman with the bunch we have now.

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: Thai Mai Shu

RE: "Wilkinson said that during the meeting, one of the board members questioned how she would explain the board's decision to other chamber members. Specifically, she said, how the chamber could justify spending time and energy on the festival when only a very small portion of the chamber population would benefit?"


Talk about a self serving question....

I am of the opinion that since the Chamber of Commerce accepts funding from the City of Kingman that it is in fact charged with promoting the entire city and not just their 440 business members.

The taxpayer should get something in return for their investment.




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