The festivities begin on Thursday evening, October 20th, with a
Hot Dog Roast at Sprague’s Super Service Station located at 305 Pine
Street in Normal. The Tudor-Revival style building was built in 1931
on Route 66, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The
Town of Normal recently purchased the building to continue the
Conference sessions begin with a keynote speaker on Friday, October
21st at The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center, 1601 Jumer Drive,
Bloomington, then move to Downtown Bloomington. Friday evening is
the 90th birthday celebration for Route 66, which includes a dinner
and dance party at the Eagle’s Club, 313 S. Main, Bloomington. Route
66 Hall of Fame members will be recognized by Steve Nalefski, McLean
County representative of the Route 66 Association of Illinois.
Entertainment includes a local band favorite, Wagon Load a Trouble,
and stand-up comedy by Terri Ryburn, who is also the conference
On Saturday, October 22nd, the conference continues with the second
keynote speaker at The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center.
Conference sessions will be held once again in Downtown Bloomington
at the McLean County Museum of History/Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66
Visitors Center and the Ensenberger Building. A Route 66 Normal
Short Film Festival takes place Saturday evening at the Normal
Theater, 209 North Street, Normal.
On Sunday, October 23rd, a number of activities will be offered for
conference attendees. A bus tour to Pontiac and Atlanta, Illinois
will be led by Route 66 historian, author and preservationist, John
Weiss. A Haunted Route 66 tour in Downtown Bloomington, will be
guided by Deborah Senger from Spirits of Bloomington/Timeless
Presentations, the author of an upcoming book entitled, “Haunted
Bloomington- Normal, Illinois”. The 10th Anniversary showing of the
Disney movie “Cars” will also be shown at the Normal Theatre that
Over 25 speakers and presenters will be highlighted during the
conference. A complete listing will be available soon at the
speaker, Cory Jobe, has been the Director of the Illinois Office of
Tourism since early 2015 is a strong advocate of leveraging tourism
to promote economic development on both the local and state scale.
From the florist down the street to the bed and breakfast across
town, he recognizes how tourism connects people to grow local
businesses, put money in the pockets of Illinois' taxpayers and
improve quality-of-life benefits for all Illinois residents.
--Saturday’s keynote speaker, Aimee Awanohopay, is the Public Lands
Partnership Manager with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism
Association [AIANTA]. Her presentation is about AIANTA's "American
Indians and Route 66" project, designed to provide the historic and
cultural relationship between the Tribes and Route 66, as well as
develop interpretation, publications, and a destination website to
provide educational and promotional opportunities previously
unavailable to the Tribes and other businesses.
was a columnist and critic for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1985-2014,
where he covered everything from music, travel and food to sports,
pop culture and history. While at the Sun- Times he wrote
extensively about Route 66 in Illinois. In 2013 he won a Studs
Terkel Community Media Award. Dave now hosts "Nocturnal Journal" - a
weekend radio show on WGN-720 AM.
[to top of second column]
--Bill Diaz and his talented family hail from Pontiac, Illinois where they apply
their artistic gifts at the Diaz Sign Art company. Bill was instrumental in
helping design and create the many Wall Dog murals that now adorn the community.
Bill was also responsible for helping put together the very first Wall Dog mural
painting project along Route 66 in Atlanta, Illinois in 2002.
--Frank Norris has been involved in research work regarding "The Green Book" a
publication created by Victor H. Green, a postal service worker from Harlem,
N.Y., who began publishing the guide in 1936. The book was designed to help
African Americans avoid, as Green put it, “embarrassing moments” after motorists
started exploring long-distance roadways including Route 66, the nation’s first
transcontinental highway. Frank Norris will present a session titled "Courageous
Motorists: African American Pioneers on Route 66” during which he will describe
the experience of black travelers along Route 66, their strategies for finding
available accommodations, and an assessment of the physical legacy of
accommodations that welcomed African American motorists. Frank Norris is a
historian with the National Park Service in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The office
where he works administers or co- administers nine national historic trails as
well as the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.
--Kaleigh Moore is the Social Media Coordinator for the Illinois Route 66 Scenic
Byway. She helps oversee the organization's social media efforts and projects
like "Selfies on 66" that engage travelers along the Mother Road in Illinois. In
her spare time, she writes for publications like Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Registration is available online at
.com/milesofpossibility. The registration fee is $100, with a reduced
rate of $90 for Route 66 Association members. Others must register by September
1 for the reduced rate; the one-day rate is $55. Included in the registration
fee are the hot dog roast, all conference sessions, 90th Route 66 birthday
celebration dinner and dance party, and the Route 66 short film festival with
free popcorn and drink. Vendors may request tables at the registration site at a
$50 to $100.
The conference hotel is The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center, 1601 Jumer
Drive, Bloomington, IL 61704. Conference rate: $85 per night, plus 12% State and
City tax, which includes a complimentary hot breakfast. To make reservations,
call 309/662-2020 and mention “Route 66” special rate. Reservation must be
made by September 20 to get the conference rate.
[Geoff Ladd, Project Administrator,
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway]