What a Summer it’s been! A real Summer with heat – tropical at times! Rain – torrential at times! Everyone who complained last February about wanting Summer got their wish! We had a great Motor Tour and have been enjoying festivals, car shows and celebrations all Summer long!
I’m a “Fall” girl – I love the changing seasons, the Fall festivals and parades: Threshermen’s Reunion in Pontiac and the phenomenal “Bassett Waddle” in September in Dwight. The “Waddle” is the closest thing Illinois has to the running of the bulls – only with a couple hundred (yes, like 600+) Bassett hounds accompanied by their loyal owners as part of a wonderful parade full of marching bands and floats. I love the crunch of leaves underfoot, the changing colors, the smell of leaves burning in the air (where permitted by law). I am hoping for a long, fabulous Fall!
In October is Girard’s Pumpkin Chunking/Fall Festival. Air cannons and pumpkins. Woo-hoo! Also, this Fall, our Association, in conjunction with the City of Pontiac, will be bringing Bob Waldmire’s van and bus to our museum complex. Pontiac is giving Bob’s “mobile” homes a place to rest – out of the sun and mud, off to the side, resting, “retired,” at our Hall of Fame and Museum. Our thanks to the Waldmire Family for sharing Bob’s vehicles with us. We look forward to sharing them with our visitors. We also came upon a collection of videos and interviews with Bob Waldmire over the years and these are being transferred to DVD so that we can show our visitors who Bob was and what he stood for, how he lived and all about his art. I’ve gotten many emails about Bob, telling how people used to love watching that little orange VW bus appear on the skyline. Bob traveled about 45 miles an hour max so if you saw him coming, you really had to wait to talk with him.
Waiting and talking seem foreign and out of sync with today’s world. Yet that’s part of the Route 66 experience: Stopping just to say hello and realizing much, much later that a lot of conversation flowed and a road friendship was made while everyone exchanged information effortlessly. Somehow we existed as a nation without cell phones or iPods or iPads or kindles or texting or tweeting. Route 66 stated, grew, flourished, dwindled down and re-emerged all before technology became an accepted, intricate part of life like it is today.
This year we will all be able to donate $1.00 off our State tax returns to Route 66 and this money will go to the Illinois Route 66 Fund. I imagine these funds may help the Route 66 Scenic Byway finish the kiosk signage program along Route 66. It may also help the city of Springfield and the Route 66 Scenic Byway renovate the old Bel-Aire Motel in Springfield into a visitor’s center (ala Disney). Yes, there are many things that may seem more necessary but tourism dollars help keep communities and people along our part of the Mother Road viable.
Enjoy the changing seasons, the “lasts” of Fall, the coming of Thanksgiving and then Winter for a while. Check the website and our Facebook page often for progress reports on the Waldmire exhibits. Great things are in store for next year – but don’t forget to enjoy today!
See you on the road~
Cathie Stevanovich, President