An event offering planes, trains, and automobiles sounds exciting, right?
Vinita, Oklahoma’s Route 66 Festival on Saturday, June 18, 2016 goes above and beyond to add a carnival, shopping, music, tractors, an inflatable park and much more for a day of entertainment as popular as the Main Street of America itself.
Major sponsors City of Vinita, Cherokee Nation Business, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, GRDA, McDonald’s, O’Neal Design, Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Vinita Daily Journal are proud to host this event to celebrate the historic Mother Road, provide residents with a great day of fun, and bring visitors to Vinita and local businesses.
“The goal of all Chamber and community leaders is to help our community grow,” commented event co-chair Chuck Hoskin. “Giving residents a source of community pride and bringing customers into the doors of our local businesses are our goals. We are very excited about the way the Vinita Route 66 Festival has grown tremendously in this second year. Committee members are already making notes for additions next year.”
The day starts early with the Vinita Municipal Airport’s Fly-in and Vinita Lion’s Club fundraiser breakfast for pilots and the public from 7 to 10 am. Local planes, and others participating in the fly-in, will be on display. Pelivan Transit will be available from 9 am to 2 pm to provide free, frequent shuttle service from the airport to the downtown festival location.
At 8:30 am, Vinita will dedicate Oklahoma’s 201st Oklahoma Historical Society Marker in the parking lot of Clanton’s Café at 319 East Illinois Avenue. The dedication will be the official “kick-off” of the Route 66 Festival.
The new marker commemorates President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s whistle-stop appearance in Vinita while on a 1936 re-election tour by train where he heard citizens appeal for funding to construct the Grand River Dam.
The President’s eventual signing of legislation for $20 million to fund the dam project created present day Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees about 14 miles southeast of the train stop.
Details about FDR’s visit and how the creative citizens of Vinita arranged the whistle-stop will be a featured display at a special Festival Open House of the Eastern Trails Museum. The museum will offer refreshments and self-guided tours from 9 am to 5 pm.
The museum is also hosting a 50th anniversary reunion concert of well-known 1960s Vinita guitar band Aesop and the Fables in the museum courtyard starting at 1:00 pm.
Speaking of classics, the Craig County Cruisers are working hard to assure downtown Vinita will be filled with cars, trucks, and motorcycles for casual spectators and enthusiasts alike.
Registration for the show is free and can be completed early through the Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce or event website vinitaroute66festival.com. Participants can also register in person the day of the show from 9 am to 1 pm. Judging will take place between 1 and 2 pm with the CarQuest Awards and Trophy Presentation scheduled for 3 pm.
The Festival area downtown will also feature the Route 66 outdoor marketplace hosting a variety of local and regional vendors, including the popular Vinita FFA Farmer’s Market.
Shopping opportunities will be a huge part of the festival. All Vinita businesses are being given the opportunity to advertise special Vinita Route 66 Festival day promotions on a merchant map, available on the event website, at the Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce, Vinita Daily Journal and at the event.
As if that wasn’t enough shopping, First National Bank will be hosting a “Junk in the Trunk” sale from their parking lot at 102 West Illinois Avenue. In this twist on an old-fashioned garage sale, vendors can load up their trunks and sell their ‘treasures’ from the back of their vehicle. Spaces will be reserved on a first-come first-served basis for $20, with $10 refunded the day of the event. All proceeds go toward the Vinita Route 66 Festival. Call Jennifer Livingston or Joanna Baker at First National Bank, 256-7811 for reservations and details.
The kid-focused activities at this festival offer something for everyone. Beginning at 9 am kids can climb, bounce, race, and more the entire block of Illinois Avenue between Scraper and Wilson Streets.
The popular Big Truck and Tractor Show will be part of the Vinita Route 66 Festival, expanding into two locations on Scraper Street. The parking lot across from Carter’s Food Center at 102 North Scraper will be filled with big trucks like ambulances, line trucks, and semis. Kids can climb on them, sit in them, honk the horns or sound the sirens all for free. South on Scraper Street toward Oklahoma State Bank, will be a parking lot full of tractors, also for climbing, sitting, and dreaming.
Vinita’s first inflatable park will be located on Illinois Avenue, south of Carter’s Foods. For just $6 kids and adults of all ages can bounce, run, climb, and slide the day away from 9 am to 5 pm. Attractions range from Elsa’s Frozen Bounce House designed for toddlers to the Rugged Warrior Challenge Obstacle Course where adults and kids alike can test their skills. There will also be a Tiki Island Climbing Wall, 21′ double slide, and Playtona Speedway Obstacle Course.
At the corner of Wilson and Illinois, near McDonald’s, the Kids’ Zone tent will have entertainment such as face painting, a photo booth, a pinewood derby, and the Balloon E. Dude to entertain the crowd. Ronald McDonald will begin the activities at 9:00 am with a special appearance and there will be demonstrations of gymnastics, taekwando, Cherokee pottery and basket weaving. The traditional pet costume contest and pet parade is also scheduled along with a pet obedience demonstration. Center Theater, 124 South Wilson, is offering a free showing of KungFu Panda at 1 pm with plenty of 66 cent popcorn. Vinita’s Fire Department will be offering a cool down from the sprinkler hose or visit Vinita’s splash pad behind the Fire Department on West Canadian. Check the website often for schedules and details.
Entertainment more geared to the adult crowd will be located at Center Stage in the 100 block of East Canadian. Enjoy the shade and live music featuring local and area musicians. Music for every taste is scheduled – country, gospel, bluegrass and rock & roll.
At noon, best-selling author and award-winning journalist Michael Wallis will present a “State of the Mother Road” address from Center Stage. Wallis is a popular historian of the Western United States and has written seventeen books, including Route 66: The Mother Road. His work has also been published extensively in magazines and newspapers, including Time, Life, People, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Wallis is a storyteller and has used his distinctive voice talent as “Sheriff” in the animated feature films from Pixar Studios, CARS and CARS 2, with CARS 3 beginning production this year. Wallis, and his wife Suzanne, will make appearances throughout the Festival including a meet and greet book signing at the Route 66 Marketplace from 10 am to noon, lunch at Clanton’s Café from 12:30 pm to 2 pm and a meet and greet at the Eastern Trails Museum at 3 pm.
End your Vinita Route 66 Festival experience – or begin it – at the carnival brought to Vinita’s American Legion Rodeo grounds by Pride Amusements.
The carnival will begin Wednesday evening and run through Saturday night of the festival. There will be rides for all ages, concessions, games, and even free pig races.
Discounted unlimited-ride tickets are now available for purchase at Arvest Bank, Clanton’s Café, First National Bank, Janet’s Accents & Gifts, Oklahoma State Bank, Shout & Sack, Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Vinita Daily Journal, for $23 per night and include free admission to the inflatable park.
Come to Vinita, Oklahoma on June 18, 2016 to celebrate America’s Main Street on our main street. Details, schedules and forms can be found at VinitaRoute66Festival.com or by calling the Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce at 918-256-7133.