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EDWARDSVILLE - The 23rd Edwardsville Route 66 Festival brought out a large crowd and a group that seemed to sincerely miss previous festivities with last year’s event canceled because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Trena Vetter, the special events coordinator of the Edwardsville Parks and Rec Department, said this year’s festival offered many of the same amenities as year’s past, although the schedule of events has changed slightly to accommodate safety measures.

“Family game options replaced the children’s areas, and the bike ride and trolley rides were paused for 2021,” she said. “Nationally renowned and locally loved, the event still included many activities like musical performances, a variety of food and drinks, Main Street Marketplace vendors, and the famous classic car cruise and show sponsored by Goshen Rotary.”

A 10K run sponsored by the Metro Milers kicked off the activities at 8 a.m., then at 10 a.m., the food, beverage, and shopping vendors were “open for business.” Musical acts included Midlife from noon until 2 p.m., Musicology from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., and Fanfare hitting the stage at 5 p.m. The car show revved up at 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., with the car cruise departing promptly at 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday night, two live musical performances occurred back-to-back. Wildfire took the stage at 7 p.m. followed by popular party music by Superjam. Superjam rocked City Park from 9:30 – 11:30 p.m.

The park closed at 11:30 p.m.

Vetter said the Route 66 Festival came back with a bigger marketplace and more vendors with music all day long, along with plenty of family zone activities and games.

“People were really excited to come back,” she said. “We have a lot of events planned for City Park this summer. People seemed sad last year we didn’t have our normal events. We will have everything from concerts, Movies in the Park, a Shakespeare Opera for kids, symphony music, and much more over the summer.”

Joel Harrison attended the event and loved it. He described it appropriately for the others in attendance: “There was plenty of great food and local drinks.”

Carl Dickey showcased some of his Americana woodworking, and he was a hit with several other vendors.

“I love seeing my products under Christmas trees and for Father’s Day gifts, etc.,” Dickey said. “That is why I do it.”

Vetter said to see everyone clapping, children playing, and just seeing people together again in Edwardsville City Park, “made all those hours of preparation worthwhile.”

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