First Hundred Miles

Red Carpet Corridor Fest returns to Route 66

15th annual festival welcomes travelers to 12 historic towns

The Red Carpet Corridor Festival returns to 12 historic communities along Illinois’ Route 66 next Saturday, May 7. The one-day, fan-favorite celebration, now marking its 15th anniversary, will bring free, family-friendly events to Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa and Lexington.

Sponsored by these 12 communities, with assistance from the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, Illinois Office of Tourism and Route 66 Association of Illinois, the annual festival invites everyone to experience life in the slow lane and savor the sights of historic Route 66. Each community has produced a one-of-a-kind lineup of events, from full-fledged festivals to antique and craft sales, art sales, car and motorcycle shows, live entertainment and a 5K. The festival is also the unofficial kickoff to garage sale season along The First Hundred Miles of Route 66, so you’ll spot plenty of yard, garage and sidewalk sales on the route.

Along the way, you’ll find plenty of places to stop for food, snacks and treats, and many historic sites, free museums and unique mom-and-pop businesses offering extended hours and complimentary tours. Travelers are free to soak in the sights from the comfort of their cars or stop and explore these picturesque, small communities – all dotted with unusual roadside attractions and memorable photo-ops. Dubbed a linear museum, the scenic stretch of Route 66 from Joliet to Lexington is lined with interpretive signs and historic stopping points that will transport you back in time to the heyday of the Mother Road.

The 2022 Red Carpet Corridor Festival will feature free admission to the Joliet Area Historical Museum, discounted admission to the Old Joliet Prison, an antique tractor exhibit and original Route 66 pavement in Elwood, a flea market and free live music in Wilmington, a giveaway stand at the Braidwood Zoo folk art environment, tours of Godley’s Route 66 mining museum, a junk-in-the-trunk sale and commemorative postcard giveaway in Braceville, a craft show and root-beer float sale in Gardner, the Smoke Out BBQ Contest and town-wide garage sales in Dwight, nostalgic souvenirs for sale at Odell’s Historic 1932 Standard Oil Station, the annual Swinging Bridges Fine Arts Festival in Pontiac (a can’t-miss event where dozens of artists will sell their beautiful fine art pieces, complemented by free live music, art demonstrations and food trucks), a 5K walk/run in Chenoa, and local craft beer and boutique shopping in Lexington.

Looking to score some Route 66 giveaways during the Red Carpet Corridor Festival? Be sure to download the Illinois Route 66 mobile app by searching Explore Illinois Route 66 in the App Store or on Google Play. Once you’re logged into the app, you’ll have an opportunity to click on Passports, and participate in a mobile check-in challenge. Check in via the app at all 12 locations, and you will be entered to win a Route 66 prize package worth over $250.

For a full itinerary of events, visit www.ilroute66redcarpetcorridor.com.