Pontiac sits comfortably on Route 66 and coming up is Memorial Day Weekend, a time when many will hit the roads, including this historic byway.
So it only makes sense that National Day Calendar has announced that the Chief City has been named as the Official Destination for National Road Trip Day 2023. This year, National Road Trip Day is celebrated on Friday, May 26.
The founder of National Day Calendar, Marlo Anderson, will be leading a road trip through Illinois in celebration of National Road Trip Day. Hundreds of historic and modern automobiles will help kick off the weekend event with an Official Destination Proclamation at Wally’s at 11 a.m. Immediately after the Proclamation ceremony, a caravan of vehicles will hit Old Route 66 and experience what was described as “the hidden treasures along the way.”
According to Pontiac Tourism, the Chief City is “a hidden gem located along the historic Route 66. With its historic sites, antique stores and distinctive eateries, the charming town is the ideal location for anybody wishing to experience the beauty of small-town America and the nostalgia of Route 66. Learn about the history of the Mother Road by visiting the Route 66 Museum or see vintage cars up close at the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum. Stop by the Livingston County War Museum to pay tribute to the brave men and women who served in the military. Finally, make sure to explore the town’s downtown area, filled with unique shops and restaurants that offer a taste of local culture.”
The six places promoted by a Pontiac Tourism press release were the Route 66 Museum, Livingston County WarMuseum, Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum, Wally’s, the Swinging Bridges and the murals in the downtown area.
Memorial Day Weekend is a traditional beginning of summer event as schools have just ended or will be ending the school year, many community swimming pools open for business and the time for vacations kicks off.
According to upi.com, “National Road Trip Day, celebrated on the Friday before Memorial Day, was started by truck stop chain Pilot Flying J in 2019 to mark the unofficial start of the summer travel season.”
Another website, daysoftheyear.com, “Road trips have been around since the time that vehicles were able to be driven for distances. Though they have been made easier by convenient gas stations and smoothly paved interstate highways, road trips have been an enjoyment for over a century. In fact, the first record of a road trip happened in 1903 when Horatio Nelson Jackson took a road trip from San Francisco to New York. Of course, his traveling companions for the 63 day road trip were his mechanic and his dog!
“When Route 66 opened up in the United States in the 1930s, and as the automobile industry grew over the next decades, road trips became more prevalent. With memories like packing a picnic, singing songs, playing the license plate game and riding backwards in the ‘way-back’ seat of the station wagon, road trips bring with them a certain type of nostalgia for many Americans.
Contact the Pontiac Tourism Office at 815-844-5847 or visit its website at visitpontiac.org for more information on visiting Pontiac.
(Pontiac Tourism contributed to this story)