by Jim Hinckley
To paraphrase a classic work of literature, for my dearest friend and I, 2016 was the best of times and the worst of times. It was also a time of exciting development in Kingman that has me looking toward 2017 with eager anticipation.
The year kicked off with a request from the Route 66 Association of Kingman, a Promote Kingman partner. This organization was looking to launch a facade and historic sign renovation initiative and had asked that I make a presentation on the Route 66 renaissance at a fund raising dinner. To date the associations initiative, in partnership with Legacy Signs and property owners, has added a number of murals to the historic business district, and dramatically transformed the historic Old Trails Garage on Andy Devine Avenue between Third and Fourth Street.
A highlight of our year was attendance of the first European Route 66 Festival in Ofterdingen, Germany. The trip was made possible by Grand Canyon West Resort, the City of Kingman, the Route 66 Association of Kingman, MyMarketing Designs, and Grand Canyon Caverns, a new Promote Kingman partner.
In addition to distributing Kingman area promotional material provided by the tourism office and Kingman Circle at the festival, I was honored by the request that I make a presentation on Route 66, and by an award presented to me by the German Route 66 Association. I also represented the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative at this historic event and in that capacity worked with organizers to facilitate a meeting between representatives from various Route 66 associations and create an international advisory group to coordinate development and distribution of Route 66 marketing as well as promotion.
Melanie Stengle, a friend in Germany, also arranged for me to speak about Route 66 in the modern era as a manifestation of the American dream at a secondary school in Bensheim. This presentation provided an opportunity to speak about Kingman area developments.
Bloomington, Illinois served as the host city for the second annual Miles of Possibilities Conference, another event where I made a presentation about Route 66 in the southwest. The conference was only one stop in a rather expansive twelve-state, 4,800 mile promotional tour. Area promotional materials were distributed at numerous locations such as the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma, and at the conference presentation as well as at presentations made at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri and the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. This trip was sponsored by Kari Jo Hill, MyMarketing Designs, Grand Canyon Caverns, Route 66 Association of Kingman, and Grand Canyon West Resort.
In September we were honored with the opportunity to host Dries Bessels, chairman of the Dutch Route 66 Association, and his charming wife at the Best of the West of the Festival. Dries served as the grand marshal for the parade this year, and was an inductee into the Route 66 Walk of Fame last year.
The Bessel’s were just or of our foreign guests this year. A group from the Czech Republic stopped for breakfast at Mr. D’z, and tours groups from Australia and New Zealand participated in the Route 66 Fun Run. There were also dinners and visits from travelers and journalists from France, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, Brazil, Norway, Belgium, Korea, Russia, and Canada.
In partnership with Promote Kingman, development of the first in a series of promotional videos commenced. This was but one manifestation of the partnership between Jim Hinckley’s America, MyMarketing Designs, a sponsor of my various promotional endeavors, and Promote Kingman.
Partnerships are the cornerstone of the Promote Kingman initiative. A few weeks ago the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation joined the growing list of partners, and this morning, Ron Hart of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce announced they would be joining as well. This network of partnerships provides added value to businesses who join the innovative initiative.
So, in looking toward 2017, I see the partnership between Jim Hinckley’s America, Promote Kingman, and their partners creating a community of the 21st century, a community that adds new meaning to the theme of the 2014 Route 66 International Festival – Kingman: Crossroads of the Past & Future. We hope that you will join us as we transform Kingman one partnership at a time.

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