04 May 2010

Getting Our Kicks

This weekend was just chock-full of entertainment. As I said in my last post, Spock, Severe, and I went to Rocky Horror, and yesterday, my family took a road trip down Route 66 for the Red Carpet Corridor Festival. I took a ton of photos, and had a fun time. I will be giving a run-down on what we did at each town along the way.

Towanda, IL
There was a flea market to wander--always a family favorite--but many of the items for sale were a bit beyond our price range. Also the band Cattle Bandits was playing in the pavilion, and they seemed to be pretty cool.
Lexington, IL
As it was held on an actual portion of the Mother Road, I liked this part of the festival the best. There was a children's area, which my parents and I appreciated, with bounce houses, face painting, and a very unique balloon artist. A pavilion on the Lexington portion of Route 66--which is used as a bike trail--was dedicated in honor of Ollie and Dorothy Myers, who, as far as I can tell, made generous donations toward the restoration of the Mother Road. There was even a song written for the occasion, and it goes something like this:
Route 66 Trail
1. We're on "66" Trail, We're on Ollie and Dorothy's Trail
Walk-ing, walk-ing, ev-'ry-bod-y walk-ing, As we go!
We're on "66" Trail, We're on Ollie and Dorothy's Trail
Walk-ing, walk-ing, ev-'ry-bod-y walk-ing, As we go!
2. Jogg-ing, jogg-ing etc...
3. Cyc-ling, cyc-ling etc...
4. Skat-ing, skat-ing etc...
5. We're on "66" Trail, We're on Ollie and Dorothy's Trail
Sing-ing, sing-ing, ev-'ry-bod-y sing-ing, As we go!
We're on "66" Trail, We're on Ollie and Dorothy's Trail
Sing-ing, sing-ing, ev-'ry-bod-y sing-ing, As we go!

We also came across a booth for Mother Road Music, and we met Jess McEntire, a performer and president of Project Route 66, which aims to promote Route 66 through music. We bought a CD, which he signed, and a t-shirt; all the proceeds go toward the project, which will help to restore the Mother Road.
Chenoa, IL
There was absolutely nothing going on in this town. How sad.
Pontiac, IL
What can I say... Pontiac is where it's at for Route 66. They have an amazing museum, which is also coupled with the Livingston County War Museum; both of these are housed in an old fire house in the center of town. The entire town is painted with gorgeous murals done by artists from around the globe, and those artists are celebrated in the newly opened Walldog Museum, which was dedicated during the festival. One of my favorite sights was all of the little cars that could be found at several of the street corners; they remind me of the cows in Chicago. On display at the Route 66 museum were several pictures by Michael Campanelli, a photographer who traveled the whole of the Mother Road in order to allow people to experience it from anywhere they want; he has put his shots together in a book called Route 66: A Photo Journal. On the way out, we grabbed some baked goods from a sale donating their profits to Relay for Life.
Odell, IL
There wasn't a whole lot going on here, apart from a small gathering at a beautiful Standard Oil gas station. We took a quick peek inside, admired the old tools--some of which Severe owns and uses on a regular basis--and headed toward our next destination.
Dwight, IL
We followed a bunch of old Fords into town, but the festivities had already shut down for the day. However, we did come across the Route 66 Java Stop, which unfortunately has closed down. The building is interesting because it is actually made of two train cars stacked one on top of the other.
Gardner, IL
No big festival here, either, but there is a very cool two-celled jail that Mama Bear snapped a few pictures of.
Braceville & Godley, IL
Nothing to see here.
Wilmington, IL
Also no festival here, but there is a Muffler Man. Those are always cool.
Braidwood, IL
We stopped to eat at the Polk-A-Dot, a 50s-style diner with un-50s-style prices. The consolation is that the money goes toward keeping the building, and the spirit of Route 66, alive and well in our community.
Elwood, IL
There was so much "not going on" here, the town didn't even make it into the pamphlet of things to do. Why is it on the site? However, if you find yourself in Elwood, visit the children's garden; I loved going there as a kid.
Joliet, IL
By the time we got to Joliet [pronounced "Joe-lee-ETTE" unless you want to be fined], the festivals were all done. I did take some pretty cool pictures of the race track, though.
I hope you've enjoyed reliving my trip as much I have. I'm very excited to go on the Red Carpet Corridor tour again next year.

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