Downtown Needles, CA: Community Celebrates the 90th Anniversary of Route 66.


Downtown Needles, CA: Community Celebrates the 90th Anniversary of Route 66.


A community celebration for the 90th Anniversary of Route 66 was held at Santa Fe Park in Downtown Needles, California on Saturday, November 12th, 2016.

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The community celebration had a car show along historic Route 66 and in front of the Needles Regional Museum which was open during the event and in front of Santa Fe Park where local vendors were selling homemade items, arts and crafts works, and delicious food, including fry bread.

Natalie Johnson of Fat Cat in the Hat D.J. played music at Santa Fe Park and Snoopy’s brother Spike hanged out in front of the Route 66 sign welcoming people to the community celebration for the 90th Anniversary of Route 66.

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During the community celebration, a moment to give thanks to all of our veterans who served and protected our freedoms and our country was held with the holding of the American flag by local veterans and the singing of “I’m Proud To Be An American”.

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There was tours of the El Garces Train Depot and homemade quilt displays as well as more local vendors and delicious food, including baked goods from the Women’s Club of Needles were set up inside.

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ZachNews got to speak with Loweida Bunnell, who came out to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Route 66 days after her 90th birthday.


Loweida Bunnell talked about her memories of Route 66 and why people should take a drive down historic Route 66.


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Earlier, Loweida Bunnell and her family got to view the El Garces fountain and the classic vehicles that use to drive along Historic Route 66.

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Route 66 (also know as U.S. Route 66 or U.S. 66) was established on Thursday, November 11, 1926, stretches 2,451 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, and has became the most iconic highway in the United States of America.


In the 1930’s, an estimated 210,000 people took to Route 66 and migrated to California seeking reprieve from the Dust Bowl.


Travel along Route 66 helped business along the road and many mom-and-pop businesses survived, especially during the Great Depression years by catering the many travelers driving east and west along the highway.


Route 66 became popular for their roadside attractions, pieces of art, or other objects that popped up along the highway.


Route 66 would became famous being memorialized in song like “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”, in television like “Route 66″ which was a television drama that aired from 1960 to 1964 about 2 young men who wander America in a Corvette. and in movies like “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Easy Rider”.


In 1985, the federal government decommissioned Route 66 and the familiar highway markers came down.


But in 1999, in response to the recognized need to preserve the rich resources of the historic highway, the United States Congress passed an act to create the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Administered by the National Park Service, the program collaborates with private property owners; non-profit organizations; and local, state, federal, and tribal governments to identify, prioritize, and address Route 66 preservation needs.


In 2006, Route 66 was a big part in an animation movie by Disney and Pixar called “Cars”. In the animation movie, a race car name Lightning McQueen gets lost well heading to a big race event in California and finds himself in a small deserted town called “Radiator Springs”. Radiator Springs used to be a popular stopover along the old U.S. Route 66, but with the construction of Interstate 40 bypassing the town. The town literally vanished from the map and struggled to survive the decommissioning of the transcontinental highway. At the end, Lightning McQueen wins his race thanks to his new friends of Radiator Springs and soon, Radiator Springs was back on the map with help by Lightning McQueen who grow to love this small town along Route 66.


To this day, that love for Route 66 and wanting to make sure that Route 66 and towns along Route 66 are not forgot has gotten more and more people interested in wanting to tours of this historic highway and work hard on restoring buildings and landmarks that helped made Route 66 great work as well as preserving the history and many stories along Route 66 for future generations.


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We all hope you someday enjoy all of the history that still lives on along historic Route 66.



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