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An estimated 53,000 attendees visited the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival this weekend.
SBJ photo by EMILY LETTERMAN
An estimated 53,000 attendees visited the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival this weekend.

Route 66 Festival crushes former attendance record

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Rain didn’t put a damper on this weekend’s Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.

The seventh-annual event had an estimated 53,000 attendees, said city of Springfield spokeswoman Cora Scott. That’s up by nearly 40 percent from last year’s record of 38,000.

During the event celebrating Springfield’s historical connection to the Mother Road, 451 classic cars were on display along with 2,900 motorcycles. The event, free to attendees, collected over $10,000 in car-show registration fees to benefit the city’s West Central neighborhood encompassing most of downtown, Scott said. Officials were unable to provide an economic impact estimate by deadline.

The majority of the crowd — 32,000 people — came out on Saturday for the event that closed down a large portion of downtown, including Park Central Square. The festival included 72 vendors, including Civil Kitchen, Sun Solar and Gene’s Gallery, and 32 musical acts, such as Three Dog Night and Big & Rich.

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