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5/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
Kingman eyed as 2014 stop for Route 66 International Festival
Annual August event usually brings 10,000 visitors to host city
Judy Hinckley took this photograph at the 2011 Route 66 International Festival in Amarillo, Texas.Courtesy
Judy Hinckley took this photograph at the 2011 Route 66 International Festival in Amarillo, Texas.

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Just call it The Gathering.

Roughly 10,000 people attend the Route 66 International Festival held each summer. Those disciples of the Mother Road - and their tourist dollars - could descend on the city en masse as Kingman is considered one of the favorites to host the event in 2014.

Such a gathering would have an undoubtedly positive affect on the city's economy, but pulling off such a large-scale production will take teamwork by a number of public and private entities as well as residents.

Author Jim Hinckley and downtown Kingman booster Steve Wagner, both Route 66 and Kingman enthusiasts, seek volunteers to serve on committees that would work on specific aspects of the event, from drawing live bands, organizing car shows, food and beverage vendors and Route 66 beautification.

"It began almost 20 years ago in a rented tent in the faded wide spot in the road that is Landegrin, Texas," said Hinckley of the International Festival now managed by the Route 66 Alliance.

A different community hosts the event each year.

"Kingman is a front-runner to serve as the host city," said Hinckley.

The men are banking on approval with the end game of pulling off a successful festival that highlights Kingman's attraction as a destination.

If Kingman does land the hosting gig, the event would be held in conjunction with the August 2014 edition of Chillin' on Beale Street, said Hinckley.

The initial plan, he said, calls for a Saturday car show, an exhibition of artists and authors in the Southwest whose work focuses on Route 66, a barbecue at Hualapai Mountain Park and live music.

The event, said Hinckley, "would introduce visitors to some of the community's unique attractions, such as the Stetson Winery and the award-wining Desert Diamond Distillery."

This August the festival is in Joplin, Mo. Last year it was in Victorville, Calif., and the year before that it was in Amarillo, Texas.

"We like to move it around," said Rick Freeland of the Alliance.

Freeland confirmed Kingman is the front-runner, but an announcement won't be made until Aug. 3, the final day of the Joplin festival.

"This will be great for Kingman," said Freeland. "Every town or city that has hosted the event has seen a significant bump in the local economy. And this is a true international event. Route 66 truly does have a global following."

Freeland said the Alliance's primary goal is to double the number of cars that travel Route 66 between Los Angeles and Chicago.

If you're interested in helping out, call Hinckley at (928) 530-7899 or Wagner at (928) 377-2239.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Kingmanmom .

This would be wonderful! Hopefully the "powers that be" dont ruin this for our town.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Not Ready

I really don't think Kingman could handle an event like this without messing it up. We shall see though. " I was even treated to seeing a brody knob on a 1955 Ford. We need to bring those back I think." They never really went away, I've had one in my truck for the last ten years, been stopped twice by officers and they didn't seem to mind it. People seem to think they are illegal, however, there is no state or local laws prohibiting them.

Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Article comment by: Dora Manley

This will be an AWESOME event. Jim Hinkley supports and promotes Kingman consistently. Thank you Jim and Steve. You are both great assets to Kingman and we appreciate all you do. Much success to you and to our community.

Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Article comment by: Brenda St Clair

I'm coming to the festival from Ohio. Keep your fingers crossed that Kingman is selected. Mr. Hinkley and others have worked very hard to bring the International festival to Kingman. Please help them. See you next August!
Brenda from Ohio

Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

This is a fabulous idea! Kingman would be the perfect place to have this and I'm glad to see Joplin have it right now because they got washed out not that long ago. This means, they came back like Americans in the heartland always do.

Yesterday, the antique cars on Beale Street were absolutely beautiful as always. That baby blue Olds was divine and if you missed the 66 run, you missed seeing what real cars looked like a few years back. I was even treated to seeing a brody knob on a 1955 Ford. We need to bring those back I think.

Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Article comment by: Vock Wash

Sounds like a great idea, but will Kingman have the courage to step up to the plate?

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