By Richard Stephens, Jr.
Few towns enjoy cruising and showing off cars, pick-ups and motorcycles as much as Sapulpa does all year around – located on Route 66, naturally! The 33rd Annual Route 66 Blowout Car Show & Festival, hosted by its Main Street Association on Sep 9th-10th, encouraged people to cruise up and down Dewey Ave (Route 66) and Main Street on Friday night and please, show off their vehicles on Saturday.
And this car lovin’ crowd did.
Hundreds of people lined the impromptu drag strip on Friday night to enjoy a wide assortment of classics, sporty, muscle, and just everyday pick-ups, sedans, SUVs, and motorcycles cruise the streets during a beautiful sunset. Tony Anderson of Sand Springs parked his 1970 Chevelle SS at the Main Place shopping mall, watched for a while with a friend, then hopped in and cruised too. It’s in the blood. The cruise was added to the Blowout festival four years ago by Cindy Lawrence, Lead Planner of the weekend event. “I was just trying to come up with another way to have fun because not everybody has cars they feel is ‘car show quality’, but everybody likes to cruise, no matter what kind of car it is.”
The D-Luxe Properties was a major sponsor and its property was a cruising turnaround spot. Weston Horn and the Hush from Tulsa entertained several hundred people from 6 – 10 pm with catchy old and new rock and roll/jazz songs with driving beats. Weston Horn said his fans call the nine-person band, “The Fooze Brothers”, due to their mix of Foo Fighters and Blues Brothers music.
Back on Dewey Street, 60s/70s music set the tone. As the full moon rose, so did rev’in engines. Cars of all ages jammed Route 66. Burnouts. Billowing smoke. Rubber tire tracks on ’66. Sputtering, squealing, screeching, roaring. Bill Duncan of Sapulpa enjoyed it with hundreds more. “Beer, a comfortable chair, and cruising cars – why leave?” Many stayed till 9:30. The next morning, 377 street and show vehicles – a new record – squeezed onto Dewey Ave. Some had cruised the previous night. Some used to. A 1966 Nova II on display used to race and cruise in the 1980s with Jim Anderson of Chelsea at the wheel. “We would do some street racing in Sapulpa.” Over ten thousand admirers – a huge turnout – looked under into hoods and interiors. Corvettes, Thunderbirds, Beetles, Austin- Healeys, Camaros, Model-Ts, motorcycles, pick-ups – one hundred years’ worth of vehicles shined on four blocks of Route 66. At the Blowout’s conclusion, owners from 55 categories of vehicles won trophies and 5 more won Best in Show awards.
One block of downtown held 66 vendors under tents providing a wide variety of merchandise, services, religion, politics, and much more. Store front business welcomed guests, including the newly opened Gasoline Alley, Downtown Brown, Amber Marie & Co, and Crossroads Cookery. Well established stores like GiGi’s Gourmet Popcorn and Route 66 Vintage Market were open as well.
Donors are a life blood of festivals. Financial donations from Paragon Industries, X-Pedite Services, D-Luxe Properties, MW Waste Management, Cecil & Sons Discount Tires, Sapulpa Community Care, SeneGence International, and others kept the Blowout free for visitors. Brian Cox of Discount Tires explained why they give. “We want to be very involved in our communities.” Sarah Lehew, a SeneGence Store Manager, agreed. “SeneGence gives to give back to Sapulpa, our home town.”
A block away, the Route 66 Art Show and Sale held more than 150 interesting multimedia art works by children and adults, ages 3 -90. Works were judged, ribbons awarded, and each was offered for sale. Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop, Director of Sapulpa Arts and Humanities Foundation said, “One hundred percent of the sales of the art pieces goes directly to the artists.”
The Sapulpa Fire Museum, Historical Museum and Barnsdall Filling Station were open for visitors too. An upcoming “Route 66 Christmas Chute” was on exhibit. Running between Nov 3 to New Years Day, it will cover five-and-a-half blocks of downtown with ten Christmas themes and thousands of lights and ornaments.
Cindy Lawrence provided an update on Saturday afternoon. She was pleased with a new car registration system being used. Also, “Our [car show] numbers are way up this year. The cruise night keeps growing and growing.”
She thanked Kallie, Konnor and Cindy McGuire, Rhona Thompson, Leon Warner, Joe Krout, Michael Jones and all the Main Street volunteers for their many hours of planning the event and carrying it out.
Route 66 carried out its mission last weekend – a car centric community platform to celebrate America’s love of cars through common cruising, some racing, and a hugely successful car show. An estimated twenty thousand people were in attendance.