Happy weekend, fellow roadies! Summer’s here, and it’s time for car shows and cruisin’ down our favorite iconic American highway. Wow, it feels good to be shaking the dust of winter off your wheels, doesn’t it? Tear down that ragtop, tune up the vehicle, turn up the road music (we like classic Beach Boys, Springsteen, ZZ Top and Pat Metheny, but you may differ), and let’s take off! Rain or shine, you’ll be doing fine at these events in the [extended] metro area:
Route 66 Cruise-in at McLean County Historical Museum, Bloomington
On Saturday, head out for a road trip to the first annual Route 66 Cruise-In, to be held at the brand-new McLean County Historical Museum, 200 N. Main St. in beautiful downtown Bloomington, IL. This is really a 3-in-1 event: at 3pm in the museum’s Governor Fifer Courtroom, our roadie pal historian Terri Ryburn will give a lecture about growing up on Route 66. Terri currently lives in and is restoring a Route 66 landmark: the former Sprague’s Super Service station at 305 E. Pine Street in Normal. In addition, the cruise-in will be preceded by a farmer’s market – something for everyone! The cruise-in is co-sponsored by the Downtown Bloomington Association in partnership with the Car Community Automobile Club, the Twin City Cruisers, the McLean County Antique Automobile Club, and the Illinois Flat Land British Car Club, so you know there’ll be some smart-looking classic and vintage cars there as well hot rods and muscle cars. In fact, more than 300 snappy vehicles will be on display for your viewing pleasure. It’s the perfect excuse to start your weekend with a longer drive.
The motorheads’ gathering is only one of several firsts this spring for the McLean County museum and its Route 66 visitors’ center, which held its grand opening only a few months ago in April. The museum’s programming has a heavy emphasis on local history and all things Abe Lincoln, with a dose of Route 66 as well. It’s not a surprise, then, that museum officials intend to make the cruise-in an annual event. For details on the day’s program, go to http://www.mchistory.org/participate/events/event.php?event=2015-06-06-dba-route-66-cruise-in
Lagunitas-Chicago’s Beer Circus is back!
OMG, how could we forget about this?? It’s the Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Beer Circus at its Chicago Brewery, 2607 W. 17th St. in the Douglas Park/Lawndale neighborhood. So much fun! LOTS of good music, strange but charming circus acts (not what you’d expect), and – of course – plenty of craft beer!!! However, the event may be sold out by now (tickets go fast). For more info and a map, see https://lagunitas.com/music/chicagobeercircus2015.
Romeoville Route 66 Car and Bike Show
Start your Sunday morning in Romeoville with the first car show of the season in the metro area. The town’s annual car and bike show will be held from 9 am to 4 pm at Romeoville High School, just west of Route 66/IL 53 at Taylor Road (to reach the high school, take Route 66/IL 53 to Taylor, turn west and go 1 block to Dartmoor Avenue, then go north to the school parking lot). This is an event for both car and motorcycle enthusiasts and those of us who just like to stare and drool at the pretty things. With face painting for the kids and micro-reality racing between 11am and 3pm, it’s fun for the whole family. And if you’re a gearhead who likes to show off, there’s still time to register your vehicle for the show. Expect flashy vehicles, food, and fun, especially if the weather cooperates. For details about the day’s program, contact the Recreation Department at 815-886-6222 or visit http://www.romeoville.org/Parks/specialevents.aspx. To register a vehicle for the event, contact Showcase Classics at 866-4RSHOWS or see website at http://www.showcaseclassics.com/
Lidice Commemoration, Crest Hill
A more somber celebration will be held at 11am Sunday morning down the road at Lidice Park in Crest Hill: the 73rd anniversary commemoration of the Lidice Massacre in Lidice (LEE-dee-cheh), Czechoslovakia during World War II. The event is organized by the Czechoslovak American Congress, the metro area Czech community, and the city of Crest Hill, which has a subdivision named after Lidice. Lidice was an unusual bloodbath, even for the Nazis. After slaughtering all the residents in June 1942 in reprisal for the assassination of a local Nazi governor (despite the fact that there was no evidence the villagers had been involved), the Germans leveled the entire town itself to the foundations, plowing the rubble into the ground, going so far as to change even the course of a stream than ran through the village, so that there was no trace the settlement had ever existed – and then the Nazis broadcast what they had done to an outraged world. All this was done at the direct command of Adolf Hitler himself. Even worse, 82 Lidice children the Germans had seized were gassed to death at a Polish concentration camp shortly thereafter. The massacre made world headlines at the time, and a monument was later erected in what is now Lidice Park, near Theodore Street and Raynor Avenue.
Lidice Park is about a mile west of Route 66/IL 53 Avenue in Crest Hill. To attend the service in the rose garden, go 1 block north of Theodore and ½ block west of Raynor to Prairie Avenue. Parking will be available a few blocks away at the lot in St. Joseph Park, Raynor and Theodore.
On Sunday, we’ll post the story of how Crest Hill and the rebuilt Lidice (now in the Czech Republic) came to be sister cities.
Until next time,