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Springfield, Illinois

The Route 66 Mother Road Festival in Springfield

By Heike Bachmann


Fans of antique cars, cool custom cars and other show vehicles absolutely must attend the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival in Springfield, Illinois, at least once in their lifetime. Every September, the state’s capital cranks up the engines and attracts fans from every corner of the globe. This car festival and show pays homage to the cars that drive or once drove the world-famous road that runs through Springfield.

A Car Show Like You’ve Never Seen

Nothing can describe what you’ll see in terms of color, shape and form at this Route 66 car show. Thousands of shiny vintage vehicles in hundreds of styles line the streets of Springfield’s historic center during the entire weekend.

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet getaway – well, this is not the weekend to visit Springfield! Between the roar of the powerful engines and the live music throughout the weekend, the car show is wonderfully lively and loud. The atmosphere is very exciting – with numerous bands performing, nearly 80,000 spectators and scores of commercial vendors catering to classic car dealers, collectors and spectators.

I saw trucks, old cars, hot rods, motorcycles and gorgeous classic cars from every decade on display and cruising through downtown Springfield. It really made me appreciate the evolution of cars throughout the years – it’s hard to believe how far motorized transportation has come in so little time! And it was obvious just how much these car owners loved their vehicles. Each one seemed more highly polished than the last. The owners are meticulous about keeping their cars in the best possible condition.

The car show is also a very family-friendly event. I noticed children and adults of all ages enjoying the festivities. There were activities for kids, plus lots of food and beverage vendors. And admission to the event is free!

Staying in Downtown Springfield

While you’re in town for the car festival, enjoy the welcoming ambiance of downtown Springfield. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to enjoy, as well as several hotels to choose from. When I wasn’t at the car show, I was walking downtown’s streets and window shopping at unique stores that promote the history of the city – especially those honoring Abraham Lincoln, whose final resting place is in this city.

Here, you’ll also find the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, an attraction that’s well worth a few hours’ visit while you’re in town for the car show. The museum exhibits are fascinating and very well done, and it will certainly give you a new appreciation for this beloved president.   

Some of the most iconic parts of the historic Route 66 run through Illinois. If you’re a car lover, especially a vintage car buff, you simply must come to the annual Route 66 Mother Road Festival and stay in downtown Springfield!

For more information, please visit us:

Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

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