The Friday before Memorial Day has been designated National Road Trip Day. Marlo Anderson, founder of National Day Calendar, will be making the official proclamation along iconic Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona on May 27 at 5:00 P.M.
As Get Your Kicks on Route 66 is one of the most recorded songs in history, and Kingman is listed in that song, the setting is ideally suited for a celebration of the great American road trip. The festivities commence on Friday afternoon at 3:00 P.M. with a display of vintage vehicles along Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) and the introduction of an innovative self-guided narrated historic district walking tour.
Developed by Kingman Main Street, the project funded by grants as well as private and corporate donations features kiosks with historic photos, a brief description, sponsor information and QR code that links to a website (kingman.tours) designed by MyMarketing Designs of Kingman. The multifaceted website page is a virtual tour as well as promotion for businesses in the historic business district and along the Route 66 corridor.
Phase one of the tour features sites associated with Arizona territorial history, sites linked to celebrities such as Buster Keaton and Charles Lindbergh, artists, and Route 66. Narration is provided by internationally acclaimed author Jim Hinckley.
Hinckley, former associate editor for Cars & Parts, is the author of more than twenty books on Route 66, the southwest, and the infancy of the American auto industry. He and his wife Judy are the creators of Jim Hinckley’s America, a travel network that includes speaking engagements, blog, podcast, YouTube channel, and published work.
He is also a tourism development consultant, a founding member of the Kingman Route 66 Association, and currently serves on the economic development committee for the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership initiative. He has made presentations on Route 66, American travel, and tourism as a component of economic development throughout the United States and at annual European Route 66 festivals.
At 6:00 P.M. a life-sized bronze statue of Jim Hinckley will be unveiled at the newly developed Depot Plaza built by the City of Kingman. The statue, another Kingman Main Street project, was created by critically acclaimed sculptress J. Anne Butler.
Born in the English Lake District, Butler has created bronze sculptures and porcelain pieces for HM Queen Elizabeth II, Mystic Arabians in Australia, Towerlands International Arabian Horse Association in England, Bo Derek and Patrick Swayze. Her work has been displayed at prestigious venues such as the Dubai Arabian Horse Show in 2012.
The plaza at the historic railroad depot is at the intersection of two alignments of Route 66 and will include the Route 66 Walk of Fame. The walk of fame reflects the international nature of Route 66. Counted among the honorees are Michael Wallis author and voice of the Sheriff in the animated film Cars. Dries Bessels and his wife Marion, founders of the Dutch Route 66 Association, and Zdenek Jurasek and his wife Eva of the Czech Route 66 Association are also honored.
All of these activities are part of a block party organized by the Kingman tourism office. Live music will be provided by Garagemahal, Sound Hole, and Painterz. There will also be a robotics display by Bionic Bulldogs, and a beer garden in the shadow of the historic Beale Hotel with a virtual tour of Route 66 created by Jim Hinckley for Kingman Main Street.
Gene Kirkham, a primary organizer of Chillin on Beale that is held on the third Saturday of each month, April through October, asked businesses along the Route 66 corridor between Kingman and Seligman to welcome local car clubs and Route 66 enthusiasts on Saturday. The informal road trip kicks off with a 7:00 breakfast at Denny’s in the Flying J Travel Center, a National Road Trip Day sponsor.
Free registration for raffle tickets follows at the Cal Ranch parking lot. Prizes from sponsors of National Day Calendar, Quatro Publishing and local businesses will be awarded at stops as well as in Seligman.
Author Jim Hinckley will provide historic commentary at Antares Point, an historic restaurant and service station that is now home to the studios of artist Gregg Arnold famous for the Giganticus Headicus sulpture, the 1930s Hackberry General Store and at Grand Canyon Caverns. West Side Lilo’s in Seligman is serving as the lunch stop. The Seligman Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a town wide treasure hunt.
On Sunday, May 29, at 12:30, author Jim Hinckley will be making a presentation entitled Riverboats, Railroads & Route 66 at Jenny & Jack’s Artifacts on Route 66 in Oatman, Arizona. A book signing at Jackass Junction will follow.