KINGMAN - Festival season is kicking off and as the weather warms up, Kingman is joining the party.
The 29th Annual Historic Route 66 Fun Run rolls through northwest Arizona Friday through next Sunday. The 140-mile pleasure cruise runs from Seligman to Topock/Golden Shores. There are expected to be more than 800 cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, vans and buses taking part in the event.
The first leg of the run starts at 10 a.m. Friday in Seligman and stops in Kingman for an afternoon of show and tell, vendors and music.
The vehicles will line Route 66/Andy Devine Avenue on Saturday. A stretch of the road will be blocked off from the Kingman Visitor Center and Route 66 Powerhouse to 4th St. Locomotive Park will host food vendors, a beer garden, live music and DJs.
Thousands of spectators from all over the world will make their way downtown to check out the classic rides and get in on the fun at Locomotive Park.
"Every year it gets bigger," said Jan Davis, Director of Operations for the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona.
"This fascination with Route 66 defies any rational description," said local author Jim Hinckley who has published 14 books about the road.
There are Route 66 themed clubs from 12 countries including Germany, Czechoslovakia and New Zealand.
Davis commented on the international fascination with the historic highway.
"We have a French group that's been coming in for 10 years," she said. "It's a vacation for them."
"It's Americana," she said. "It reminds people of a stress-free comfort era that many people would like to go back to."
The Fourth Annual Route 66 Drive-In event, featuring the 1977 film "Smokey and the Bandit," will be held at the Best Western King's Inn at 8 p.m. Friday April 29th.
"Our goal was to have something for people staying in the hotels," said Joshua Noble, director of Tourism at the Kingman Visitor Center. "We try to have movies that revolve around cars. Movies like 'American Graffiti,' 'Grease' and of course, 'Cars'."
"People can park their vehicles and watch or bring chairs," Davis said. "The lot can hold up to 200 people."
The event is free and Davis is asking for volunteers. She can be reached at 928-753-5001 or in person at the Kingman Visitor Center, 120 W. Andy Devine.
Beale Street will also be packed full of activity.
House of Hops will have three bands playing in the street in front of the brewpub. There will also be a beer-fest in the new Pallet Park at House of Hops.
Black Bridge Brewery will have two live rock bands, The Ataris and The Swillers, and will also be unveiling new craft beers.