Let’s take a moment to imagine, to give flight to fancy. Let’s take a moment to dream, and
perhaps, to find ways to make the dream a reality. First, a bit of history.
In 2014 the City of Kingman hosted the International Route 66 Festival. The building that would become Beale Celebrations was a focal point for the event with its central location and the exhibition of authors and artists. Fast forward to 2018. The annual Miles of Possibility Conference, in essence a convention for the Route 66 community, has become a focal point for event organizers, community leaders, business owners, authors, artists, and photographers, and preservationist in the Midwest. In August of this year the second European Route 66 Festival took place in Zlin, Czech Republic. Route 66 enthusiasts from throughout Europe as well as Brazil and the United States were in attendance.
So, perhaps, its time for Kingman to again host a festival and conference for the international Route 66 enthusiast. Perhaps it could even become an annual event like the Miles of Possibility Conference.
Beale Celebrations would again be the focal point. This time, however, as the facility has full media capabilities, it would be used for the conferences and workshops. Representatives from Route 66 communities would have displays and exhibitions that included promotional materials. The recently refurbished Elks Building that was built in 1903 is one half block north on Fourth Street. This building would be used for the artists, authors, and photographers exhibition.
The adjoining parking lot would be used for live music concerts, awards ceremonies, and announcements. Additional music venues would include Locomotive Park and the parking lot at the state offices on Sixth and Beale Streets. As with Chillin’ on Beale and First Friday, Beale Street would be filled with vendors, food trucks, and a car show.
We have several award winning microbreweries in the neighborhood, as well as a wine bar and historic saloon. These would be ideal for a pub crawl. Desert Diamond Distillery and Stetson Winery are to the east of town. Perhaps Desert Wonder Tours could include stops in a tour along Route 66 to Grand Canyon Caverns. As the city is home to the world’s only electric vehicle museum, an EV component would have to be included; an EV vehicle Route 66 cruise in, speakers, etc.
So, what do we need to do if we are to transform the dream into a reality? How do we again make Kingman, and Beale Celebrations, the focal point for the international Route 66 community?
Well, we first find like minded people with passion and vision. We form a coalition from the Main Street initiative, chamber of commerce, kingmantourism.com initiative, Promote Kingman, Route 66 Association of Kingman, and other community development organizations. Next, set a date.
Funding and organization are always the biggest hurdles to clear. So, solicitation of sponsors would be crucial. Promotional and marketing would be relatively easy as the international Route 66 community is available to assist, and we can count on the support of the International Route 66 Advisory Committee.
All of this leaves but one question unanswered. Are we ready to invite the world to Kingman?
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America.