PONTIAC - The Seventh Annual Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference will be held Thursday – Sunday, October 20 – 23, in Pontiac, Illinois, with the theme “America's Main Street Welcomes the World.”
Four days of speakers, tours, museums, shopping, networking, a Classic Rock band, a comedy show, a 1980s film featuring Pontiac, plus great food and fun await Route 66 enthusiasts, Illinois historians, tourism professionals, and anyone just wanting to have a great weekend of fun on Illinois Route 66!
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This year's event is dedicated to the legacy of Route 66 and Chicago historian and author, David Clark, who passed away in January 2022. David was a great friend to the Miles of Possibility conference, and his program from last year's event will be re-played at this year's conference, followed by a panel of friends and colleagues sharing reminiscences and stories of David and his contributions to Route 66.
The Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference was founded in 2015 (by yours truly) with the first event held at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. Subsequent years have attracted the Route 66 community to conferences held in Bloomington-Normal, Joliet, and Carlinville. Additional annual conferences are in the planning stages for 2023 through 2026, the Centennial Year of Route 66. Watch for announcements of those exciting host cities beginning this fall!
There is an exciting lineup of speakers for Friday and Saturday at this year's event. Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey's Inc. and granddaughter of Stuckey's founder W.S. “Sylvester” Stuckey Sr., will present the keynote speech, “Roadside Revival: Bring Back Stuckey's,” on Friday morning, October 21. All conference presentations will take place in the Pontiac Eagle Performing Arts and Conference Center.
The slate of speakers for Friday-Saturday, October 21-22, includes: Jane and Bill Diaz, Artists/Walldogs Muralists/Owners of Diaz Sign Art in Pontiac; Tim and Penny Dye, Pontiac automobile historians and driving forces behind the Pontiac-Oakland Museum; Jim Hinckley, Author/Historian/Tour Guide from Kingman, Arizona; Ed Long, President of the Livingston County War Museum; LaWanda Henry Matson, daughter, and biographer of Illinois State Trooper Chester Henry; Ron Metzger (with Becky Metzger), collector of Springfield signs and business memorabilia and owner-operator of Motorheads Bar and Grill & Museum; Ron Romero and Debyjo Ericksen, Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66; Jax Welborn, Photographer/Entrepreneur from Waynesville, Missouri; John Wille, a historian at the Route 66 Illinois Hall of Fame Museum in Pontiac. The schedule also includes panel discussions on: “Pontiac and Route 66: Past, Present, Future,” “The Legacy of David Clark,” and “Updates from the Road Ahead Initiative and the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway,” featuring tourism professionals and Route 66 personalities.
Tours and social activities begin on Thursday and end on Sunday.
On Thursday afternoon, trolley tours of Pontiac sites will be led by Don Schlosser. On Thursday evening, a hot dog roast behind the Old City Hall/Illinois Route 66 Museum and Hall of Fame will welcome everyone to Pontiac. On Friday evening at Crescent Cinema, everyone can watch the movie Grandview USA, which was filmed in Pontiac in 1984 and stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Patrick Swayze; the evening's entertainment continues with a half-hour comedy show at Bob and Ringo's Tavern by Terri Ryburn, proprietor of Ryburn Place at Sprague Super Service in Normal. Saturday evening's festivities take place at the Pontiac Eagle Performing Arts and Conference Center and begin with a special welcome and presentation from Debyjo Ericksen and Ron Romero of the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66 in Joliet. Next, the exciting young band GenFuZe from Northern Illinois/Chicago will take the stage for an evening of Classic Rock. Route 66 Miles of Possibility would like to thank its 2022 event presenters and ongoing supporters: Pontiac Tourism and Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, plus: American Road Magazine, Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, Illinois Rock & Roll Museum, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, McLean County Museum of History, ROUTE Magazine, Ryburn Place at Sprague's Super Service, The Prairie Land Buzz Magazine and Visit Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For registration and a complete schedule, visit https://route66milesofpossibility.com. Ticket prices begin at $60 for a one-day pass; register for the whole weekend for just $90 before October 1st! For updates and fun facts, follow on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Please join us in Pontiac October 20-23 for this year's exciting weekend of the only annual, ongoing conference event dedicated to Route 66!
This story was originally printed in the September issue of The Prairie Land Buzz Magazine. Read more at www.thebuzzmonthly.com