SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — For almost 100 years, Springfield has been recognized as the birthplace of Route 66 and today marks the start of the annual festival celebrating America’s main street.

The Jefferson Avenue Streetscape project was completed this week in time for the festival to start. 

Construction crews have been working hard to finish this project and city officials are pleased with the work that has been done as thousands of people are expected to head downtown for the Birthplace Route 66 festival.

“The festival footprint and the festival downtown will be pleased to see that because there’s been a lot of work, a lot of upgrades done in the downtown area,” said the Director of Public Information and civil engagement, Cora Scott. 

Scott says there is still a little bit of construction on Walnut Street but other than that everything is ready to go for the festival. 

If you plan to head downtown prepare for road closures over the next three days.

  • St. Louis St. from Campbell Ave. through Park Central Square to Kimbrough Ave.
  • Park Central Square and spokes
  • Patton Ave. between Olive St. and Park Central West
  • Robberson Ave. between Olive St. and McDaniel St.
  • Jefferson Ave. between Water St. and Walnut St.
  • McDaniel St. from west of the Discovery Center parking lot to east of the parking garage at McDaniel St. and Robberson Ave.
  • Olive St. between Jefferson Ave. and McDaniel St.
  • Kimbrough Ave. between McDaniel St. and Trafficway St.

There will be no additional road closures on Saturday. 

The Route 66 festival kicked off this morning.

You can check out special exhibits at the History Museum on the Square starting at 10 a.m.

Tonight, the Rocking the Route Street Party will get underway at 6 with a performance by the 135th Army Band of the Missouri National Guard. Rounding out the night The Emerald City band will perform music ranging from Mo-town to Disco and R&B.

And there’s an exciting addition this year — the Kansas City Chiefs Championship Tour is coming to town with Three former Kansas City Chiefs players stopping by the festival to meet with fans on Friday. 

Neil Smith is in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame who played for the team back in the late 80’s early 90s. 

Danan Hughes is former Chiefs wide receiver and is now the color commentator for the Chiefs. 

Brandon Williams is part of last year’s championship team who helped defeat the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Fans will have a chance to meet the players during the Championship Tour tomorrow. 

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Vince Lombardi trophy will be on display at the Springfield Expo Center

At 6 p.m. the bus and entourage will leave the Expo Center and join the festival parade.

At 7 p.m. the cheerleaders and drumline will perform on the Aaron Sachs stage.

With August 11 declared as Kansas City Chiefs Day, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure encourages everyone to wear red on Friday to show their support for your Super Bowl champions.