EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville’s annual Route 66 Festival is fast approaching, and this year organizers have mapped out a nostalgic trip through the decades that the Mother Road paved a path through the City. In addition to some fan-favorite bands, family activities, a market and classic car showcase, the festival will feature five local restauraters and food providers who will serve up a “Taste of 66.”

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The Edwardsville Route 66 Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, in and around downtown’s City Park, 101 S. Buchanan Street. This 26th annual event is hosted by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with a fleet of generous local sponsors.

“This event truly captures summer in Edwardsville,” Mayor Art Risavy said. “Our Parks staff and many dedicated, history-minded volunteers have cooked up a great lineup of sights and sounds representing the City’s Route 66 legacy that I know everyone will love.” New this year is the Taste of 66 Experience Tent, which will feature classic treats that travelers along Route 66 in Edwardsville enjoyed from the 1920s through the ‘60s.

Taste of 66 tickets will be available that day for $5 and include a sample of each treat; only 500 tickets will be sold. It will be in operation from noon to 5 p.m. in City Park and feature:

Cleveland-Heath, 106 N. Main Street, will present its appealing rendition of the all-American apple pie that was served up at Cathcart’s Cafe, 456 E. Vandalia Street, in the 1920s and beyond.

Alexandra Foods will offer a savory sample of the 1930s with classic pierogies, which were featured at Narodni Sin-Czech Hall, in the 200 block of East Vandalia Street.

Sally Ann Bakery, a staple of the Bohm Building at Vandalia and Main Streets in the 1940s, was known for its peanut coffee cake. The Cup, 1057 Century Drive, will whip up its sweet take on that treat.

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In the 1950s, the Hi-Way Cafe advertised an ooey-gooey delight that was a new taste sensation for many in this area - “pizza pie.” 222 Artisan Bakery owner Kim Goodner, who is renovating the former Hi-Way Cafe location at 461 East Vandalia Street for her coffee roasting business, Plaid, will plate up some pizza for the Taste of 66 event.

City Scoops Creamery, 1100 S. State Route 157, will roll out the frosty root beer floats enjoyed in the ‘60s and beyond at A&W Drive-In, 604 St. Louis Street. Other special festival features include trolley tours to point out Route 66 highlights in the City, including the Route 66 monument and the West End Service Station, a Route 66 visitors center at 620 St. Louis Street.

The classic car show and cruise also will be back. A new feature for vehicle buffs is a special display of cars through the decades that will be set up along the South Kansas Street perimeter of City Park. Bands will hit the stage from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The lineup includes the Matt Taul Group, Miss Jubilee, Dirty Muggs, Rock Mafia and Pretty Little Thing. A list of entertainment, 10K race, kids zone (bounce houses, petting zoo and more), food and beverages, Taste of 66, roadside market and exhibits, car events and more is at www.edwardsvilleroute66.com

Additional festival week activities also are listed, including two special events on Friday, June 7:

The West End Service Station will celebrate its one-year anniversary, featuring special treats, new merchandise and activities for kids, from 10-11 a.m. The West End Service Station also will kick off its expanded operating schedule on Wednesday, June 5, and then will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

The Parks and Recreation Department will offer a free showing of the animated flick “Cars” at 8 p.m. in Leclaire Park, 900 Hale Avenue. The Edwardsville Arts Center will be on hand at 6:30 p.m. to help kids turn a cardboard box into a car, and City Scoops Creamery will sell ice cream. Craft participants should bring their own box. Other festival week events listed online include historic Mississippi River Festival (MRF) exhibits, an MRF author appearance and exhibit, and an MRF musical revue by the Alumni Players! at the Wildey Theatre.

The festival is free to attend, although there are costs for certain activities. The dynamic lineup would not be possible without the generous contributions of the sponsors: The event’s Mother Road sponsors are Cork Tree Creative, a marketing agency local to the Greater St. Louis community, and Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, which collaborated with the City on the West End Service Station and represents Southwest Illinois.

The Muscle Car sponsor is Morrison Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical, joined by trolley sponsor Mahoney Law Firm, LLC. This year’s Hot Rod sponsors include Republic Services, Country Financial, and T-Mobile. The 2024 Roadster sponsors are Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC, Phillips 66, Heartland Bank, and Madison Mutual Insurance Company. Fastback sponsors include MasterCars Inc., Edwardsville Bank, Abstracts & Titles Inc., Revity Credit Union, and Metro East Mega Storage.

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