Route 66 Rendezvous classic car revival reflects on nearly two decades of growth
By JENNIFER DEAN
It's a big year for the annual Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino, which will take place Sept. 17-20. This year will mark the 20th annual celebration of classic cars, the famous highway and downtown San Bernardino.
The first Rendezvous was held in 1990 at Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore.
There were 300 vehicles showcased and about 4,000 spectators. Activities included a concert and a cruise down "E" Street.
In 1992, the event moved to downtown San Bernardino. After Stater Bros. Markets became the title sponsor in 1997, the event's attendance grew rapidly.
More than 500,000 people attended last year's Rendezvous.
This year about 1,900 vehicles will be cruising San Bernardino and activities will cover 35 blocks of the downtown area.
Visitors to the Rendezvous can expect to see the same mix of classic cars and cruisin' music, but there will be some new activities as well.
"We're going to have a demonstration of rat rods, which look very different from our normal cars," Karen Blanco, director of communications at the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.
"We'll have Capt. Phil from Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch' visiting," she said. Former NFL players Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins and Mark Seay of the San Diego Chargers will sign autographs on Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Court Street Stage.
Rock and swing band Big Papa and the TCB will kick off concert entertainment the first night at 6:30. Country singer Ashley Runner and West 10 will perform Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.
Entertainment on Sept. 19 will be hosted by TV personality Theresa Ryan. Concerts include the Legendary Mustangs from 1 to 3 p.m., Neil Morrow from 4 to 6 p.m., and Buzz Campbell and Hot Rod Lincoln featuring Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats at 7 p.m.
This year will mark the 20th annual celebration of classic cars, the famous highway and downtown San Bernardino.
The music on Sept. 20 will include The Original Sacrifice Band at 12:30 p.m. and Tierra featuring Salas Brothers at 1:30 p.m.
The Rendezvous tends to bring out the competitive side in some of its visitors and there's really something for everyone.
The Neon Light Contest on Third Street will light up the streets the first evening. The San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino Poker Run will be held Sept. 19.
For the lead-foots out there, The Burnout Contest will be at the Orange Show Speedway from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 19.
The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire will host the Culinary Cook-off throughout the day Sept. 19 in front of the CinemaStar Theater.
A Model Car Contest will take place in the upper level of the Carousel Mall on the morning of Sept. 19 and then the Open Header Contest will take place on 3rd Street later that afternoon.
On the morning of Sept. 20, the 5k Run/Community Walk and Chief's Mile starts at Arrowhead Credit Union Park.
And then there are the cars. Throughout the weekend there will be demonstrations, cruising awards, displays and parades. The event is open to vehicles from 1973 and earlier, including classics, muscle cars, hot rods and trucks. The event kickoff ceremony will take place from 5:30 to 6 p.m. the first night.
Right after that, the Cruisin' & Show-N-Shine/Neon Light Cruise will begin, lasting until 10 p.m. The Cruisin' Award picks will then cruise again from 6 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 19.
Von Hot Rod's Shindig at Arrowhead Avenue and 3rd Street will be new to the Rendezvous this year and will include rockabilly music Sept. 18 and 19 on the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts Stage, a pinstriping show and the Rat Rod Display.
For a complete schedule of events, registration and contest details, visit www.route-66.org.
Reach Jennifer Dean at 951-368-9336,jdean@PE.com or http://blogs.pe.com/moms.
Start your engines
What: Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous
Where: Downtown San Bernardino
When: 6-10 p.m. Sept. 17, Sept. 18; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 19; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 20