The good folks at the City of Kingman, Josh Noble, the tourism director, Ray Cullison and the Kingsmen, and the volunteers who labored so hard to make the recent Best of the West on 66 Festival a success deserve a hearty thank you.The good folks at the City of Kingman, Josh Noble, the tourism director, Ray Cullison and the Kingsmen, and the volunteers who labored so hard to make the recent Best of the West on 66 Festival a success deserve a hearty thank you.
It was a delightful and fun filled event that my dearest friend and I enjoyed immensely. Even better, it was an event that was shared with, and enjoyed by friends from the Netherlands.
Though the event evolved from the rather successful 2014 Route 66 International Festival, it has some rather interesting roots.
Published in 1946, A Guide Book to Highway 66 by Jack Rittenhouse had a rather lengthy entry on Kingman. “Each September, the citizens of Kingman celebrate their famous “Dig-N-Dogie Days” in a rodeo which combines cowboy contests with miners’ events. Since Kingman lies on the margin between cattle country to the east and the mining country to the west, the event draws a wide audience of local folks as well as many outside visitors. Only working cowboys can enter the riding contests …”
Somewhere along the line, the miners contests fell by the wayside. The name was changed to Andy Devine Days, an honorarium for the towns’ favorite son and the name sake for the Route 66 corridor through town.
Still, the Best of the West of 66 Festival preserves the spirit of the original celebration, and the sense of community noted by Rittenhouse is highlighted.
Political squabbles are given a rest as the mayor and mayoral candidate participate in the parade that courses through an historic business district lined with spectators, and cowboys, now mostly professionals, still kick up the dust at the Mohave County Fairgrounds.
With the Route 66 International Festival that had the theme of Kingman: Crossroads of the Past and Future, a new dimension was added. In partnership with the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation, the world’s first electric vehicle museum was established. Also, a Route 66 Walk of Fame to honor the people that have contributed to the transformation of this highway into an icon was unveiled.
At the festival in 2014, the international nature of the Route 66 community in the 21st century was on display at an historic and unprecedented conference that featured representatives from several European Route 66 associations. This year it was the grand marshals, Dries and Marion Bessels of the Dutch Route 66 Walk of Fame and inductees into the walk of fame in 2015.
Read the rest of the article on Jim’s Blog