Day 17: August 10, 2012
Let There Be Festival
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There was a "meet and greet" in the lounge Thursday night but the first organized event was Friday morning's eGroup breakfast. Mike Ward MCed the event which, with the help of his wife Sharon, he organized as well. Lots od door prizes are always handed out at these breakfasts and this year Canadians George & Bonnie Game helped with the handing. Left to right in the picture it's Bonnie, Sharon, Mike, and George.

Although the eGroup breakfast has managed to get itself list in the program several times, including this year, it is not an official part of the festival. The festival officially got rolling with an opening ceremony at the fairgrounds. Jack Brown, CEO of festival sponsor Stater Brothers Markets, spoke about his Victorville connections and Fort Irwin's Colonel Pinkerton spoke of the fort's relationship with the area. A flag folding ceremony was performed by the Hi Desert Young Marines. Brad Mitzelfelt is Vice-Chairman of the County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors. He was instrumental in getting the former US-66 signed as San Bernardino 66 all across the county. Those are samples of the new signs on the stage. The Stater Brothers Route 66 International Festival Presented by Coca Cola was officially opened when Route 66 Ambassador Terry Kafides cut the ribbon.

Today's gathering of classic cars was called a "Show and Shine" with a bigger event planned for Saturday. But I thought today's offerings were pretty good. I particularly liked the pair of '40 Fords.

Most authors and artists and such were inside the only air conditioned building on the fairgrounds. That's photographer/author Russ Olsen chatting with collector Mike Ward with Sharon Ward minding the store. Collectors Steve Rider and Joe Sonderman were at neighboring tables. Then there's a picture of the three amigos from Oklahoma; Jerry McClanahan in the back then Jim Ross then Shellee Graham. All three are talented artists and writers and all three sometimes work together. Next is a picture of Suzanne & Michael Wallis with Rick Freedman behind them. Michael and Rick are the core of the Route 66 Alliance. The last picture is of fellow Ohioan David Wickline, creator of the Images of 66 books.

Maybe it was because Dan Rice lives in southern California and should be used to the sun and heat that his 66-to-Cali got an outside booth or maybe Dan was just being a gracious host. Whatever the reason, the location also caused me to give him his own panel. In 2009, Dan was instrumental in the erection of a "Santa Monica 66 End of the Trail" sign near his shop on the Santa Monica Pier in 2009. At the time some possibly misguided enthusiasm and some definitely misguided use of the word "official" didn't sit very well with some people including me. I figured Dan was just another marketer twisting the truth for financial gain. My opinion began to change after seeing this video last February and continued to change as I saw and heard him around the festival. By the time I spoke with Dan at that outside booth, my negative opinion had been done in completely. Heck, he really could be the best thing to happen to Sixty-Six since Cars.

In the afternoon, rock 'n' roll took over the main stage where the opening ceremonies had been held. This is, I believe, a group called "No Way Out".

Back inside, where it was cool, a series of presentations took place in the center of the hall. Roger Hathaway gave a talk on what he called the "pre-history of Route 66" in San Bernardino County. He described the various roads and trails that would eventually become US-66. Scott Piotrowski (my guide of yesterday) spoke about "Route 66 in Los Angeles County" and Steve, Mike, & Joe talked about "Collecting Route 66 Memorabilia". There was also a presentation on preservation which I missed.

I sure was nice to see David Knudsen at the head of a Route 66 banquet. Even so, I only took one picture at Friday night's gathering; Hadn't planned on taking any. Cynnie Troup, Bobby's daughter, gave a delightful talk about her famous father that ended with folks standing in line to get a CD containing fifteen versions of Route 66. She and other family members had selected the versions and Cynnie signed each copy. How cool is that? I snapped a picture of Cynnie just after I received one of these unique mementoes.

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