© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bloomington-Normal added to Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor event

Route 66 map and sign
Emily Bollinger
Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service in Normal will be one of more than a dozen locations along Route 66 that will take part in the Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor event May 6-7.

An annual festival that celebrates Route 66 will expand to a two-day event and add Bloomington-Normal to the route.

The 16th annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor is a 100-mile long festival taking place May 6-7, with festivities in 14 communities, spanning from Joliet to Bloomington.

Participating cities include Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington, Normal and Bloomington.

Director of Tourism for Pontiac, Liz Vincent, said the festival educates attendees about Route 66’s significance and history.

“It’s a linear festival,” Vincent said. “So it’s a good way to give people a chance to just expose them very quickly to all those communities. Route 66 is really important to our heritage in this area and it’s a good way to help people that may not be aware of what Route 66 is, to discover the road and rediscover the Great American Road Trip.”

The addition of Bloomington-Normal and return to a two-day festival instead of one shows a bright future for the celebration of Route 66.

“Especially as we’re leading up to the centennial in 2026, I only see this event growing and I only see the interest in Route 66 getting bigger and people getting more excited about taking those road trips,” Vincent said.

Each location features a commemorative giveaway while supplies last, according to event organizers. This year, the giveaway is a customized currency bill for each community that includes a photo of an iconic attraction or location along with historical information.

In Normal, attendees can stop at Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service on Sunday to pick up the giveaway. A photo op will also be available at the replica gas pumps.

Downtown Bloomington will be celebrating with live music, food truck vendors and a car show.

Activities for all other towns can be found on the Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor website.

Route 66 grants

Additionally, the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway has announced its latest round of the Byway Project Funds program to help provide financial assistance to Byway members.

It announced the Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor would receive $1,000 for marketing, while several facilities received $1,000 for beautification and restoration: the Best Western Plus Bloomington East Hotel, Springfield Lucky Horseshoes/Robin Roberts Stadium, Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66 in Joliet, Atlanta Public Library District, and the City of Atlanta Tourism.

Megan Spoerlein is a reporting intern at WGLT. She started in 2023. Megan is also studying journalism at Illinois State University.
Related Content