AAA Route 66 Road Fest wraps up

TULSA, Okla. — Route 66 Fest wrapped up this evening – but the events organizers are already planning next year’s festival.

Even though this is the first year - organizers said they’ve had thousands of visitors and it’s been very successful. They also have promised bigger and better things in the years ahead of the Centennial in 2026.

This year celebrated Route 66 through the years including the past, the present and the future.

“It’s that iconic road, it’s the history, it’s the culture, it’s all of that, but it’s a road that people are just like, ‘I want to be a part of it’” said Ken Busby, Director of the Route 66 Alliance.

The festival’s exhibits showed Route 66 in each decade of its history, ranging from the 1920′s to the present day.

Organizers said people from all over the US have visited the festival.

They also said it’s been so successful, they’re planning to hold it every year ahead of Route 66′s 100th birthday in 2026.

Ken Busby already has ideas for next year.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could create somehow a little neon sign park as part of this to let people have those nostalgic experiences. So, neon is something we’re talking about for next year as an addition,” said Busby.

Besides the nostalgia of the past, the show also exhibited the future of Route 66.

On display was the first shuttle in Oklahoma that drives itself.

The shuttle is electric and called the Navya.

Bailey Dunn is from Navya, the company that makes the shuttle.

“Runs off a predetermined path that gets loaded in, and then it uses GNSS or GPS to know where it’s at,” said Dunn.

Navya already used in 25 countries on college campuses and airports.

Terry Steel was visiting the show – he took a ride in it and told FOX23 what he thought.

“Well it’s very kind of unusual, but she explained to us very well, how it was operating and how it was safe, and they’re getting to be all over the country too. I think it’s amazing,” said Steel.

Besides holding a festival next year, organizers are also planning to have these festivals in cities across the country along Route 66.

>>>MORE: Route 66 centennial planning begins in Oklahoma