Route 66 Centennial Signature Event Announced for Joplin, Missouri

(Joplin, MO) – Events to celebrate the Route 66 centennial year are being planned across the eight states the historic route passes through. Celebration events will span the 2025, 2026, and 2027 travel seasons, with the most significant emphasis between March and October, the most active months for international tourism.

Route 66 and the coming Centennial celebrations are a big deal to international guests, who are already booking their “holiday” travels for those years. No wonder there are more International Route 66-related associations (12+) than states that the Route passes through (eight).

As many communities along Route 66 annually do, festivals and events with a local flair and regional appeal are in the planning stages, while new ones are encouraged to be developed. Domestic travel along America’s Longest Museum will significantly increase for the next few years, and the international markets will explode. Company is coming — in a big way, and Route 66 communities need to plan for it.

With the approval from the Joplin City Council on February 5, 2024, Visit Joplin is putting into motion a plan to create a unique series of events for Joplin and the surrounding Route 66 Tristate Corridor neighbors to be their signature event celebration of the Route 66 Centennial.

An agreement was approved for a partnership between the Joplin tourism organization and the Netherlands-based World Street Painting Foundation. The partnership is to create, develop, and hold a one-of-a-kind centennial celebration in the form of the 3D street painting festival.

The Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the Joplin Celebrations Commission, Joplin Parks and Recreation, and members of the Joplin arts community, in conjunction with regional Route 66 partners, will work together to develop this event series.

Street Painting is a performance art rendering artistic designs on the pavement with semi-permanent materials such as chalk or paint. 3D Art, three-dimensional art, is the expression of applying the dimensions of height, width, and depth.

The World Street Painting Foundation holds its annual World Street Art Festivals in The Netherlands and Germany. Through the approved agreement, a version of these annual festivals will be held in the U.S.A., namely Joplin and Route 66 — their only US location.

The partnership will offer an international connection with an established audience, a community of artists, and a promotional strategy reaching domestic and international markets. The international appeal will be a great Route 66 draw during the centennial, plus an attraction for other overlapping events with global interest occurring in 2026 — such as USA 250 and the FIFA World Cup.

Event specifics include:

  • Introducing the World Street Painting Festival to Route 66 and Joplin will be a kick-off event featuring three artists on June 4–8, 2024. This initial (teaching) event will be on the grounds of the Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment Complex. Introducing the public to what the festival is all about and the 3D Painting art form will help build momentum, capture marketing images and video, and attract needed sponsors as the plan moves towards a capstone event in 2026 when the festival will showcase the work of 20 artists.
  • The 2025 World Street Painting Festival: ROUTE 66 will grow to 10 artists, building local support while gaining national and international awareness and media exposure.
  • The 2025–2027 events will be held along the dead-end roadway in the southeast corner of Schifferdecker Park. Since the route designation in 1926, this municipal park has been a Route 66 landmark. Additional events in the park and at the Joplin History and Mineral Museum are being considered.
  • Though the art creation event would span five days, the 3D paintings will be on exhibit for months. This will attract guests for the signature event and continue attracting viewers for several months.
  •  In 2023, the guestbook in the Visit Joplin Visitor’s Center was signed by guests from 43 nationals, many with repeat visitors. 2026 should be a banner year.


Patrick Tuttle, Director
Visit Joplin MO

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