You can’t get your ‘kicks’ at Springfield’s Route 66 Festival this weekend but you can get some ‘sticks’

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - For the second consecutive year concerns over COVID-19 have forced the cancellation of one of Springfield’s biggest events.

The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival was to have been held this weekend in the downtown area but the event organizers have come up with another idea to give classic car lovers something to do while also trying to help eradicate the invisible enemy that’s ruining their show.

The festival offers food, concerts and all kinds of vendors with everything from clothes to Route 66 memorabilia. But one of the most popular things about the event is the long parade featuring hundreds of vintage cars and although that won’t be happening this year, organizers are inviting the public to see a local collection of classic automobiles at the Route 66 Car Museum at 1634 West College St. on Saturday from 3-5 p.m.

The $15 admission fee will be waived and you can get in for free IF you get a COVID-19 vaccination at the museum.

The Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Springfield Fire Department and IAFF Local 152 are all working together to run the vaccination clinic and they say it’s only logical to offer ‘sticks’ since they can’t offer the ‘kicks’ on Route 66.

“The committee decided to go ahead and offer vaccines because the COVID surge in our community is what caused the cancellation,” explained Eric Latimer, a Division Chief with the Springfield Fire Department. “So we’re going to provide this opportunity to receive the vaccine and get in to look at the vintage cars.”

Route 66 Car Museum owner Guy Mace was more than willing to offer free admission to those who get a shot.

“I’m troubled by people not wanting to get vaccinated,” he said. “And this is one way to give them a little bit of incentive.”

Mace started his collection in 1990 when he brought the first of his eight Jaguars. He now has about 70 cars of all kinds including several that have celebrity status like a replica of the Batmobile from the 1960′s TV show.

“It’s completely identical,” he said of the eye-catching machine that’s the first thing you see when you pass through the museum’s door. “The only thing is I did not purchase the jet exhaust (in the back) because I didn’t want to burn the legs off my customers.”

Mace also owns a Ghostbusters station wagon known as the Ectomobile.

“The Ghostbusters car is from the latest movie with the ladies in it,” Mace said. “It’s one-of-five duplicate cars that was built by Sony Pictures to advertise the movie.”

Mace next points to a sporty but small green car.

“This is 1963 Morgan which was originally owned by General Norman Schwarzkopf of Desert Storm fame,” he said of the broad-shouldered war hero. “I don’t know how he ever got into it but that indeed is his car.”

And although he has no plans to travel forward-or-back in time Mace owns a rear-engine two-passenger sports car with stainless-steel side panels whose doors open upward, not sideways.

“This is a 1983 DeLorean, the ‘Back to the Future’ car,” he said of the iconic model that was only manufactured in 1981-82 with about 9,000 produced. “I tell people I have the Flux Capacitor on order from E-Bay.”

While Saturday’s event is intended to be a fun way to increase COVID-19 inoculations, those who have been giving the shots know there’s a very serious and sad message in the importance of getting vaccinated before it’s too late.

“One that really hit hard was a lady who came that had lost her husband,” recalled Latimer, who has worked at many vaccination clinic events put on by the fire department. “She got vaccinated after he passed away (from COVID-19). That is really hard to see that someone is doing something to protect themselves and there was a vaccine that could have potentially protected her husband.”

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