Route 66 this weekend:  Berwyn Car Show and CineFest


Hello again, fellow roadies!  This weekend, route roadies in Chicago are blessed with a full two days’ worth of worthy events (that’s in addition to everything else going on in the immediate area, like the special exhibits at the Art Institute and the usual tours at the top of the Sears Tower, etc.).  First up today is the annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show, a don’t-miss, no-admission event in Illinois as it is second in size only to the Mother Road Festival in downstate Springfield.  Flashy vehicles, food and fun, and did we mention it’s FREE?  Yessir!  Be there, or be square.  Berwyn is the second suburb you encounter outside Chicago when traveling Route 66, one whose civic leaders very consciously promote Route 66 – and Berwyn’s history on the route – all year long.  It’s also home to the Berwyn Route 66 Museum, which is one of the co-sponsors of the car show.

Then there’s the first annual CineFest in the Douglas Park area of Chicago, a weekend-long celebration of feature-length movies and TV series filmed in Chicago (many of which have been at least partially produced at fest sponsor Cinestage Chicago).  And perhaps the best part of that festival is that the beverages of choice will be brewskis supplied by next-door neighbor Lagunitas-Chicago brewery, Chicago’s largest craft beer producer.  Cinestage Chicago occupies the historic former Ryerson Steel campus, which is located between Western Avenue on the easternmost end and Washtenaw Avenue on the west, Route 66/Ogden Avenue on the north and the railroad viaduct that runs on an angle roughly between 17th to 18th Streets and parallel to Ogden.  In fact, Lagunitas itself is in a former Ryerson warehouse that the brewery rents from Cinestage under a 99-year lease.  So you have history all around you at both of these events this weekend.

In fact, our suggestion is that you attend the car show today and CineFest tomorrow – work them both in, if you can, then dine somewhere on the route afterwards.

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Route 66 news update:  Car show and event dates for spring and summer 2015


Hello again, fellow roadies!  Spring is finally here in Chicago, albeit grudgingly, which means a roadie’s attention turns to thoughts of road trips.  We have a partial list here for you of Route 66 events in Illinois (no, we didn’t just stick to our own neck of the woods in the NE corner of the state; we’re more broadminded than that.  Besides, a road trip requires putting on some mileage, right?).

We’ll have more details on these events and shows as we come nearer to their individual dates.  Please note:  the annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show, which usually occurs on the first Saturday after Labor Day in September, will instead be happening two weeks early in late August.  We don’t know the reason for the change in date, but we imagine there was some kind of conflict with something else.  It can’t be because of the weather:  August is usually way too hot up here, whereas September has typically been just about perfect.  Oh, well …

Anyway, with the road shot below from our Funks Grove trip last summer on the day of the Route 66 Association of Illinois annual picnic at the Sugar Grove Nature Center to inspire you, please mark the following events on your Route 66 calendars; you won’t be sorry!

Route 66 southbound in Funks Grove  (photo copyright 2014 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved)

Route 66 southbound in Funks Grove (photo copyright 2014 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved)

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Route 66 events (brrrr!):  Warm thoughts of the 2014 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show


Hi there, fellow roadies!  How ya doin’ with that polar vortex??  Have you been buried under layers of silk, wool and down this month?  Wearing two pairs of gloves and three pairs of socks, indoors?  Drinking hot cocoa and trying to think warmer thoughts??  Well, we can’t warm you up as fast as an XXX-rated movie might, but we can certainly turn your attention away from the freezer outside to things that should bring a smile.  With the annual Chicago Auto Show ongoing at McCormick Place through Feb. 22, it’s an opportune time to look back at last autumn’s annual Berwyn (IL) Route 66 Car Show … and dream.

Suddenly those cars with the flame-throwing exhaust systems actually look appealing, eh?  Yeah, we thought they might.  But hang on to your mittens anyway (they actually work better for keeping your hands warm).

2014 Berwyn Car Show 3 - nitro fuel demo - blog (MRTraska) Continue reading

Route 66 Song Of The Week:  Dawg Days, plus coming events


Yes indeedy, fellow roadies, the long weekend of the dog days is gone.  August with its humid but confusing weather this year is defunct, only a sleepy memory.  We’ll celebrate that yet with our Song Of The Week below, but for now let’s take a moment to remember what a great weekend it was with the Chicago Jazz Festival on tap!  Buoyed with a little of that leftover energy, we thought we’d update you on what’s ahead in the near future and then throw in an appropriate song, too.

To start, we have two Route 66 car shows coming up in September in Illinois.  First: The Berwyn Route 66 Car Show is this coming weekend, Saturday Sept. 6th, from 10am to 4pm along Ogden Avenue in Berwyn.  It’ll be held between Oak Park Avenue on the west end and Ridgeland Avenue on the east.  Admission is free, but there’s a registration fee for cars that will be exhibited; registrants can get their cars lined up starting at 7am.  Food vendors and live music will be on site, and parking is wherever you can get it, but try the municipal garage on Oak Park Avenue, a few blocks north of Ogden Avenue.  Please DO remember to bring a few dollars for the Berwyn Route 66 Museum’s artifact restoration fund; no doubt museum director Jon fey will have the kitty set up at his usual tent.

Second:  The International Mother Road Festival is at the end of the month, starting at 5pm Friday the 26th through Sunday the 28th, in downtown Springfield, IL.  Admission is free, but there’s a registration fee for cars that will be exhibited.  Food vendors and live music will be on site, and parking will be available in the garage on 7th Street at Washington Street, next to the DoubleTree President Abraham Lincoln Springfield Hotel, or wherever else you can find it in a public lot (the streets nearby will be taken over by the fest all weekend long).

The annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show along Ogden Avenue

The annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show along Ogden Avenue  (Photo courtesy Berwyn DevCorp)

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Route 66 food review: Stogies and mummies and brew, oh my (and BBQ too!)


Updated July 6, 2013

Ronnie Lottz is a gregarious guy.  That’s probably one reason why he’s been a success at a number of (pre)occupations.  He doesn’t let that cloud his business judgment, however:  he insists on the best in whatever he’s involved in, be it custom auto art detailing, promotion, or tavernkeeping.  His most recent preoccupation is running a craft beer and barbecue mecca in Berwyn, right on The Route.

Ronnie Lottz, proprietor of Cigars and Stripes BBQ Lounge, Berwyn, IL

Ronnie Lottz, proprietor of Cigars and Stripes BBQ Lounge.  Copyright 2013 by M.R. Traska

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Springmania: Route 66 gets some love on Chicago media


You can tell spring is really here in Chicago:  the lilacs are blooming, the days are warmer, overnight temps no longer approach freezing, and Route 66 got some attention on local television this weekend.  Oh, and the local landscapers are now waking people up at the crack of dawn with their edge trimmers, lawn mowers and leaf blowers, earning a colorful cussing from many a sleeper … but I digress.

Drive time has arrived!

The Associated Press led off the weekend early Friday morning with a news item from Santa Fe, NM:  law officers across all eight states of the Mother Road participated in a 24-hour-long campaign to get drivers on the historic road to buckle up.  Local press covered it, too, mostly by citing AP.  Given that seat belts and child restraints save about 13,000 lives yearly and you’re 75 percent less likely to die in a rollover crash if you’re wearing a seat belt, according to federal statistics,* it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.  But it did mean a crackdown all the way up and down the route this weekend.

* National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s figures

The Route 66 roadie's dream

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Cabin fever? Treat yourself to Route 66 classic car dreams


So:  you went to this year’s Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place  six or seven weeks ago and ate your heart out over all the beauties on display (uh, we mean the cars, guys; they don’t use scantily-clad female models anymore).  Now it’s wet, and cold, and dreary, and sometimes (though not often enough) snowy outside, and you’re pining for blue skies and wide-open spaces to cruise with that fancy concept car you were oh, so tempted to drive away with at the car show.  Right.  Uh-huh.  And of course, all good route roadies are already planning their rides down 66 for this year.

What better time, then, to dream about Riding The Route in some of those classic, vintage and souped-up lovelies that were on display at the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show last September?  If you’re gonna dream, might as well dream big and imagine cruising down Route 66 in your favorite fast vehicle.  To help you with that, your blonde, blue-eyed genial route guide here has assembled a lovely slideshow to remind you of warmer, sunnier days and what you can look forward to when driving season returns (which to me means any time after May 1st, when lilac season begins in Chicagoland; but your local start of spring may vary).

Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 2012 - blog (Berwyn DevCorp)

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