Car camaraderie: Route 66 festival draws in crowd

Maddy Wycoff, Writer

Spectators gathered in Downtown Springfield to see streets lined with cars the weekend of Sept. 24. The Route 66 Mother Road Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. The festival, which took a hiatus last year, brought people together for a weekend of cars, live music and food.  

Both competitors and attendees admired the detail and time others put into their vehicles. Those walking the streets could see everyone talking and bonding with one another over their love for cars.  

Cars entered for award consideration were parked on the streets surrounding the Old State Capitol. The weekend was filled with events such as Friday’s night cruise, a burnout competition on Saturday and the awards ceremony on Sunday. 

Steve Goulden of Springfield had six cars entered in the show.  

“I’ve done a lot of work,” he said of his Trans Am Camaro. “I’ve added the doors to it and some of the graphics to it, and I like that car. It’s my favorite to drive.”  

Goulden won five awards, including first place in the Best Camaro category (1993-present) for his Trans Am.

“It’s not a money thing or nothing, it’s just a prestige type thing,” Goulden said. 

The Mother Road Festival is important to Goulden and car fans alike: “It gets all the car enthusiasts together to talk about their cars, or the ones their working on, or ones they may want to buy.”

Goulden also explained that the festival is an opportunity to see friends.

“When I’m out here I see a lot of people I haven’t seen for a long time. It’s kinda cool,” he said. 

Lane Cummings of the Quad Cities also appreciated the festival.

“I like it because it costs you to enter, but it’s free to the public. So, you get a bunch of people. It’s a good deal,” Cummings said.  

Cummings brought his 2002 Corvette to the festival.

“I was curious to see what the turnout would be this year because last year they didn’t have it, but I think we got a good turnout,” said Cummings, who won first place in the Best Corvette category (1997-present). 

 Bill Travis of Riverton also entered the festival. Travis has been building cars for 47 years. He entered his 1964 Comet Cyclone.  

When discussing the festival, Travis said “I think it’s the best thing that can happen to Illinois.”

He added: “I think it does raise everybody’s morale when they come out and see other people. I think it’s the best medicine you can get right now.” 

The Route 66 Mother Road Festival provided a weekend of fun for Central Illinois. Spectators and competitors listened to local bands, ate food from the Cozy Dog Drive In, had lemonade shake-ups and took photos of their favorite cars.  

Whether people had cars up for awards or were simply walking around, the Mother Road Festival gave them the chance to interact and share their passion with others. The festival showcased the strong camaraderie that forms between car enthusiasts. 

Travis admired the festival saying, “We’re getting a lot of crowd, lot of good people, and it’s a nice day. It just don’t get any better than that.”

Added Travis, “I think it’s just an unbelievable show here.” 

Lane Cummings with his 2002 Corvette at the Route 66 Mother Road Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Brady Wycoff)
Steve Goulden with his Trans Am Camaro at the Route 66 Mother Road Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Brady Wycoff)
Spectators admire cars at the Route 66 Mother Road Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Brady Wycoff)