Residents of Kingman will get a chance this weekend to witness an event that has not been repeated in 150 years. A caravan of camels, dancers, Native Americans, bands, classic cars and local celebrities will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Lt. Edward F. Beale's Camel Corps trip through Kingman and the very start of Route 66.
The celebration is being put on by the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association and runs this weekend.
Beale made his famous camel trip through Kingman in 1857 while surveying a wagon trail for the U.S. government along the 35th parallel. That wagon trail eventually became Route 66 and later Interstate 40.
The celebration lasts both days. It starts with a parade at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. According to the Downtown Merchants Association, the parade will start at Sixth and Beale streets and head toward Locomotive Park. The parade will include seven camels, members of the Hualapai Nation, classic cars and motorcycles, the Daughters and Sons of the Pioneers, dancers, an honor guard by the Tri-City Knights of Columbus, the Mohave Thunder Marching Band, gunfighters and members of the U.S. Army Cavalry.
Two of the honored guests are Kingman native Bob "Boze" Bell and Angel Delgadillo of Seligman.
Bell is well known as an author, radio and TV personality. He has written six books on the classic gunfighters of the West including Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday and more. He also owns and publishes the magazine True West.
Delgadillo is the man most people credit with saving Route 66 in Arizona. He founded the Arizona Historic Route 66 Association more than 20 years ago in order to save small towns like Kingman and Seligman that were going to be bypassed by I-40.
Delgadillo has been interviewed about Route 66 hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times for documentaries, films, newspaper and magazine stories and even the animated feature "Cars."
The fun continues after the parade at Locomotive Park with live entertainment provided by the Kingman Kutups, the Arizona Ballet Folklorico, Matachina Indian Dancers, a demonstration from Moore's Martial Arts, the Pioneer Gunfighters and Bob "Boze" Bell.
The winners of the Beale Essay contest will also be announced on Saturday.
Special to the celebration are the Arizona Ballet Folkorico, a group of 52 dancers that perform a range of Mexican folk dances in traditional costumes.
While parents watch the entertainment, children can ride a miniature train, go wild in a jump house or take a camel ride.
Parents can also check out the classic cars in a show and shine car show along Beale Street. Classics from the Route 66 Cruisers and Route 66 Wings and Wheels club will be on hand.
Residents can fill their bellies and quench their thirst from the various food vendors including the Elks Cookout tent and Cub Scouts Wolf Den No. 5's soft drink station.
All day the Downtown Merchants will be offering $5 raffle tickets for the chance to win a car. The raffle drawing will be held at 4 p.m.
The festivities on Saturday wrap up with a street dance from 5 to 10 p.m. with western music from Littletown.
There's more fun planned for Sunday. The Walk in the Park and car show open at 9 a.m. and last all day.