National Route 66 Federation evaluates Tulsa's festival


I've looked through the various Route 66 bulletin boards on the Internet and have yet to find a discouraging word about the way the International Route 66 Festival turned out. As noted earlier, out-of-town Route 66 aficionados had a great time and were very pleased. On the other hand, I continue to get this reaction from Tulsans -- almost verbatim: "I looked at the website and the brochures, and I couldn't get my arms around it. I couldn't figure out what it was really all about."

Here's a letter sent by the executive director of the National Route 66 Federation to the Mayor. This was posted on the Route66 Yahoo group:

Dear Mayor LaFortune,

I would like to congratulate you, your city, the many volunteers and particularly Gary, Linda, Ron and Steven from the Scissortail Group for the most professionally produced Route 66 Festival we have ever been a part of. Everything was so well done. The shuttles whisking folks from venue to venue, the volunteers who would spell people in their booths if they needed a respite, the unparalleled media coverage. Even the airport was festooned with Festival banners and their shops were selling a colorful array of Route 66 souvenirs.

Our John Steinbeck Awards Evening was the largest and best we have ever produced. We received nothing but rave reviews over Chuck Cissel's music Robert Anquoe's Native American fancy dancers, the wonderful John Steinbeck and Cyrus Avery Impersonators, from the Chautauqua and Michael Wallis' stirring talk.

Virtually all of the authors, artists and collectors reported that they had their greatest interest and sales yet.

In talking with a gentleman from Tulsa who was enjoying a hamburger at a picnic table, he was sorry more of his friends hadn't come out. To paraphrase what he said, "I have lived in Tulsa for over 20 years and, to me Route 66 was just another slab of cement. But, as I can see, it was and is much more than that".

Mayor, as I said to you at the John Steinbeck Awards Evening, this is just the beginning for your city's relationship with the Mother Road. This introduction will show economic benefit for Tulsa for generations to come.

Sunday, we bid farewell to a new friend from Germany and a family from Japan and a couple from Belgium. They had a wonderful time. They will travel the route and spread the word.

And, by the way, you did a great job on the weather, too.

David Knudson
Executive Director
National Historic Route 66 Federation
PO Box 1848, Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352
Phone: 909-336-6131 Fax: 909-336-1039
Email:, Website:

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 21, 2004 12:20 AM.

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