2nd Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference

Date: 
Thursday, October 20, 2016 (All day) - Sunday, October 23, 2016 (All day)

The Second Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference will be held in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois from October 20-23.

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The Second Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois from October 20-23, features many informative speakers covering a variety of topics related to Route 66, as well as many fun activities.

Conference sessions are on Friday, October 21st and Saturday, October 22nd. Friday’s keynote address, “Leveraging Tourism to Promote Economic Development,” will be given by Cory Jobe at The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center, 1601 Jumer Drive, Bloomington. Conference sessions will also be held in Downtown Bloomington at the McLean County Museum of History/Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center and the Ensenberger Building.
Over 25 speakers and presenters will be highlighted during the conference. An updated listing is available at the conference website, www.route66milesofpossiblility.com.

-- Cory Jobe, who has been the Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism since early 2015 is a strong advocate of leveraging tourism to promote economic development on both the local and state scale. From the florist down the street to the bed and breakfast across town, he recognizes how tourism connects people to grow local businesses, puts money in the pockets of Illinois' taxpayers and improves quality-of-life benefits for all Illinois residents.

--Ellie Alexander has been the Director of Tourism for the City of Pontiac, Illinois since 2005 after serving in various chamber of commerce and hospitality industry positions, primarily in the Chicago- land area. Ellie is a Certified Travel Industry Specialist and serves on the board of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, and the Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Committee. Through a timeline of photos and stories, Ellie will discuss Pontiac's road to successfully building their tourism product.

-- Aimee Awanohopay, is the Public Lands Partnership Manager with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association [AIANTA]. Her presentation is about AIANTA's "American Indians and Route 66" project, designed to provide the historic and cultural relationship between the Tribes and Route 66, as well as develop interpretation, publications, and a destination website to provide educational and promotional opportunities previously unavailable to the Tribes and other businesses.

--Joel Baker, owner of American Giants, will talk about Muffler Men Giant Fiberglass figures made in the 60s and 70s to attract customers to businesses. He will discuss their history and their economic impact, as well as their recent comeback and popularity.

--Daniel Bruce, former Executive Creative Director with the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency, will offer his expertise to conference attendees seeking professional advice on how to enhance their efforts to market and promote their Route 66 community, business and/or attraction.

--Frank Butterfield is the Springfield Office Director of Landmarks Illinois, the statewide non-profit preservation advocacy and education organization. Butterfield will discuss how reinvestment and reuse of historic places are central to economic development and revitalization, and will educate participants on how to use this data to be advocates for the historic resources in their communities.

-- Bill and Jane Diaz, owners, Diaz Sign Art, will discuss the history of advertising art in the US and how the Walldogs continued that tradition and how the Walldog movement evolved, making a big difference in the towns that have welcomed public art into their communities.
--Robert Dirks, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Illinois State University, recalls some of the ways McLean County’s Route 66 eateries sought to distinguish themselves from the competition and attract guests to their tables. Route 66 throughout its history fostered new ideas in the restaurant industry.

--Herb Eaton presents an artist’s experience in transforming and invigorating a community by presenting the value and worth of the arts and artists by making, exhibiting, performing, selling, or offering an invitation to participate while traveling through or stopping for a stay in a community.

--Cindi Fleischli, Executive Director of the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association, will discuss creating a "Kicks" on Route 66 brand, and marketing techniques for wineries involving partnership development.

--Debby Funk of Funks Grove Maple Sirup will share the history of Funks Grove and sirup making from the 1800s to present day and the impact Route 66 had on the business.
--Nick Gerlich's presentation will explore how we can use electronic media to capture the past that still lingers in the present, by focusing on obscure alignments, buildings, and bridges along Route 66.

--Phyllis Chandler Grey's presentation will look at the profile of the Route 66 tourists through recent research gathered from museums and other venues. It will examine what is being done to encourage road trips by families and to educate the youngest generations about the rich history and value of Route 66.

--Using the ongoing preservation of the Auburn, Illinois, brick pavement, Anne Haaker, retired Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, will discuss effective means of working with transportation and economic development government agencies to preserve the Road and its roadside attractions to encourage tourism and enhance visitor enjoyment.

--Jim Hinckley is the author of fourteen books, five on Route 66 specific subjects. Jim will examine the international appeal of Route 66, and how some communities are successfully harnessing the highway’s renaissance as a catalyst for historic district revitalization and economic development.

--Dave Hoekstra, WGN Radio weekend host and story finder, will guide you on a nostalgic road trip down Route 66, featuring various touchpoints along the Mother Road, highlighting the unique sense of place that the road offers its travelers.

--Cheryl Eichar Jett is the author of six books published by Arcadia Publishing and is currently working on two book projects for other publishers. She suggests that popular history writing can benefit from using some academic guidelines, while recognizing popular history's own strengths, such as narrative and personality. Using writing examples, she examines the differences between the two disciplines and looks at ways to draw from both to improve our popular history writing. In 2015, she served as director for the first Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference.

--Bill Kemp, librarian for the McLean County Museum of History, will give you some much-needed pointers and plenty of dos and don'ts when it comes to caring for everything from photographs to correspondence. If you're a writer, historian, genealogist, or member of a historical society or heritage association with little or no experience collecting and preserving historical materials, this session is for you!

--As a professional business analyst, a previous owner of two very successful companies, and now starting a third business on Route 66, Ed Klein will share the ins and outs and the 'how to' of running a successful business on Route 66: from curbside appearance, branding and marketing, merchandising, pricing, using technology and everything else a small business needs to grow and survive on the route.

--In the early years one critic observed, "In Illinois there are no roads, just places they call roads." In this illustrated presentation, Greg Koos, retired Executive Director of the McLean County Museum of History, will cover the development of a central Illinois road system, which ranged from dirt right of way, smoothed with wood drags, to the four-lane Route 66 with its one-hundred-mile-an-hour curves. And from there to the information highway!

--City of Edwardsville alderman and preservation advocate, Will Krause's presentation clarifies the relationship between heritage tourism and economic development. Case studies will be featured in the first half of the session to provide examples of best practices.

--As a Route 66 artist, Jerry McClanahan frequently preserves or restores the appearance of lost or changed Route 66 icons in his work. This involves much research into historic appearance. Many bygone structures are remembered only in old photos or have been drastically modified. Jerry’s work is intended to restore their earlier accurate appearance, or to document and preserve how Route 66 relics appear today in an arrested state of decay.

--Kaleigh Moore is the Social Media Coordinator for the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. She helps oversee the organization's social media efforts and projects like "Selfies on 66" that engage travelers along the Mother Road in Illinois. In her spare time, she writes for publications like Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine.

--Frank Norris, historian, National Park Service, Santa Fe, New Mexico, will discuss the experience of African American travelers along Route 66, including their strategies for finding available accommodations, and an assessment of the physical legacy of accommodations that welcomed African American motorists.
--Deborah Carr Senger has co-owned and operated Timeless Presentations in Normal, IL, since 2008. The Spirits of Bloomington series offers step-on and walking tours, as well as presentations and investigations of historic and haunted Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln sites in the Bloomington- Normal area. This session will show you how to plan, create, and market your own historic ghost walk on Route 66 and American Byways.

--John Weiss will discuss the historic preservation efforts in Illinois, which he has led since 1993 as Chairman of the Preservation Committee of the Illinois Route 66 Association of Illinois. Along with his large group of dedicated volunteers, he is responsible for physically restoring, maintaining, and participating in dozens of large and small preservation projects.

Registration is available online at www.regonline.com/milesofpossibility. The registration fee is $100, with a reduced rate of $90 for Route 66 Association members. Others must register by September 20 for the reduced rate; the one-day rate is $55. Included in the registration fee is a hotdog roast, all conference sessions, 90th Route 66 birthday celebration dinner and dance party, and the closing ceremony and a movie. Vendors may request tables at the registration site at a cost of $50 to $100.

Optional activities on Sunday, October 23rd, include a bus tour led by John Weiss to Pontiac and Atlanta, a haunted Route 66 tour led by Deborah Carr Senger, and the 10th anniversary showing of the movie, “Cars.”

The conference hotel is The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center, 1601 Jumer Drive, Bloomington, IL 61704. Conference rate: $85 per night, plus 12% State and City tax, which includes a complimentary hot breakfast. To make reservations, call 309/662-2020 and mention “Route 66” special rate. Reservation must be made by September 20 to get the conference rate.

Conference contributors include the Town of Normal, the City of Bloomington, Bloomington- Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, McLean County Museum of History/Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center, State Farm Bank and the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
For more information, contact Terri Ryburn at route66lives@gmail.com or call 309-452-5325. Conference updates can be found at www.route66milesofpossibility.com.

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