Route 66 Road Fest, June 22-23 at Tulsa’s Expo Square, welcomes Mother Road enthusiasts from around the globe. Photos courtesy Route 66 Road Fest

Route 66 – often dubbed the Mother Road or America’s Main Street – was one of the original highways created in the United States. Established on Nov. 11, 1926, the road has become one of the country’s most famous, as it originally ran through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The freeway was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985 due to its replacement by segments of the Interstate Highway System. However, there’s an event happening right here in Oklahoma that celebrates and commemorates the history and cultural significance of Route 66.

The Route 66 Road Fest, running June 22-23 at Tulsa’s Expo Square, offers guests just about everything there is to know about the Mother Road. There are plenty of activities and sights to behold this year, just as they have been in years past – plus a few new things to get excited about, too.

“We will still have the historical exhibits, car shows and vendors from across the country, but this year we’ve added a couple of new things to the activities area that we think people will really like,” says Wade Bray, the producer and curator of the event. “We also updated something in The Journey,” he says. 

The Journey, an interactive and educational exhibit, looks back through Route 66’s long history, complete with photos, music, artifacts and fun facts for the entire family. It covers all the sights and sounds of America’s Main Street from its beginnings in the 1920s right up to today. 

Other attractions include a pinewood derby, miniature golf, Hot Wheels races, interactive art, a virtual reality arena and even some wandering dinosaurs. There will also be a car show with photo opportunities with special guest Richard Rawlings – star of the reality TV show Fast N’ Loud. 

Bray says that enthusiasts often make repeat yearly visits, so he tries to have different exhibits when possible. 

“We strive to add new elements each year so that our returning visitors have something fresh to see and do,” he says. “One of the really fun things to put together each year is the Presentations Stage lineup. This is where we have conversations with Route 66 authors, experts and online personalities, covering a wide range of subjects from the history of the Route to the Centennial preparations to UFOs and haunted places along the Mother Road.” 

Previous guests have included authors Michael Wallis (Route 66: The Mother Road) and Candacy Taylor (Overground Railroad), as well as author/historian Bob Blackburn (Oklahoma City: Film Row). As of this writing, the 2024 schedule has not yet been released, but will be updated on the website – – when it’s finalized.

Preparing for the Centennial 

2026 marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of Route 66, and enthusiasts are planning to celebrate accordingly. 

“Centennial preparations are underway across the country, and each of the eight states the Route passes through have commissions working on their respective celebration plans,” says Bray. “As for the Road Fest – 2026 will have a special feel and extras not seen at previous events.” 

A century’s worth of history and festivity will soon come to pass, and Bray couldn’t be more excited. 

“The Mother Road is such a unique piece of America’s history and it deserves a special celebration,” he says. 

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