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Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004 06:54 pm

More than 66 kicks

When a stalk of corn sprang up next to Kohlrus' vintage pumps, he hung an "Ethanol" sign on it.
Photo by Tom Teague

This weekend, Springfield will host its third annual Route 66 Mother Road Festival.

Three days of classic cars, live entertainment, and street vendors converge downtown.

The festival will also feature caravans to the state fairgrounds, which 66 borders on the north, east, and south sides. It's hard to escape the Route in this town. But who wants to? The Mother Road Festival is well on its way to becoming one of Springfield's best-liked annual events.

Here's a schedule of festival highlights:

5:30 p.m.-6:45 p.m.
Staging for the Route 66 City Nights Parade takes place at 2300 Dirksen Parkway (at the Illinois Department of Transportation parking lot, north of the Crowne Plaza).

6 p.m.-11 p.m.
Free street festival in downtown Springfield, featuring two show stages and entertainment by Sister Groove and by Blue Mark and the Groove Dukes. A commercial and nostalgia marketplace, specialty-food vendors, and other street attractions will also be there.

7 p.m.
Route 66 City Nights Parade, sponsored by the Prairie Heart Institute, winds through Springfield along portions of historical Route 66 and ends at the festival grounds downtown.

7:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
Car-show gate opens. Preregistered and unregistered vehicles enter the grounds at Sixth and Capitol.

11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Car show and street festival; two show stages with free live entertainment by Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets and the Screamin' Vatos; appearances by dragster driver Don Garlits; free car clinics hosted by Chuck Hanson, host of Horsepower TV; and appearances by Martin Milner, star of TV's Route 66 and Adam-12. Among special exhibits: 14 Morgan sports cars, a customized Illinois National Guard Hummer equipped with a stereo system and a PlayStation 2, a 1963 split-window one-owner Corvette, and the '55 Chevy from Two-Lane Blacktop.

6:30 p.m.
Staging for the second Route 66 City Nights Parade takes place at Sixth and Cook. Cars should line up facing south on Sixth.

7 p.m.
The second Route 66 City Nights Parade heads to the Route 66 Dance Party at the Illinois Department of Transportation, 2300 Dirksen Parkway.

8 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Route 66 Dance Party. Tickets for the dance are available Friday and Saturday near the visitor-information booth on the festival grounds.

8 a.m.-10 a.m.
Car-show gate opens. Preregistered and unregistered vehicles enter the grounds at Sixth and Capitol.

11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Car show and street festival, special guests, exhibits, and two show stages with free live entertainment. See Saturday's summary.

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