IMOA Gets Its Kicks During Annual Show

Mercuryville logo largeBy Pat Eager

As the song goes, “Get your kicks on Route 66,” and that’s exactly what IMOA did at its national meet in Springfield, Ill., Sept. 27-29.

Members began checking in at the Northfield Inn on Thursday. It was great to see old friends and renew acquaintances while “oohing and aahing” over the beautiful Mercurys. Five of our Canadian members were there, and it’s always good to see them. We had several first-time attendees, and signed five new members.

eagers lincolnSome of the many highlights of our trip were:

* A trolley ride from the hotel to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which covers 40,000 square feet of galleries, theaters and historical displays.

* The Dana Thomas House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s largest and most elaborate Prairie-style designs. The house has 35 rooms that contain more than 100 pieces of original furniture, as well as 250 art glass windows.

* Lincoln’s New Salem reconstructed village, where Lincoln lived as a young man.

* Lincoln’s Tomb is where Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln and three of their sons are entombed.

* The old State Capitol of Illinois, where the first legislative session was held in 1877. The building has a 405-foot dome, and is a combination of Renaissance Revival and Second Empire style. There was an encampment in the courtyard and the participants were staging a reenactment of the period. It is interesting to note that on May 4-5, 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s body laid in state in Representative Hall as a crowd of 75,000 filed by to pay their last respects.

Lincoln’s home was the only home the Lincolns ever owned. Actual Lincoln family furnishings and period artifacts gives one a view of Lincoln as a husband, father, neighbor and politician.

* The Executive Mansion has been the official residence of Illinois governors since 1855. Visitors may visit the ballroom, dining room and Lincoln’s bedroom.

cozydog* The Cozy Dog Drive-In was opened in 1949. The restaurant is full of Route 66 memorabilia and souvenirs. It is famous for its “hot dog on a stick.” IMOA cruised to the restaurant Friday evening and some members ate there. It was a neat sight to see all the Mercurys filling the parking lot.

* Shea’s Gas Station Museum has been on Route 66 for over 50 years. There’s a lot of vintage service station memorabilia, including thousands of oil cans, fuel pumps, a 1952 Airstream travel trailer and a restored 1984 Ward school bus. The owner, Bill Shea, has many interesting stories to tell to visitors from all over the world. The original owner, Bill’s father, received a proclamation naming him as “Father of the Mother Road.”

Of course, since Springfield was Abraham Lincoln’s home, many of our members took advantage of the great historical sites.

The International Route 66 Mother Road Festival and Car Show was unbelievable.

Thousands of people from around the world attend this annual event, featuring hundreds of classic and vintage vehicles. There is live entertainment, dozens of food booths, one-of-a-kind exhibits, and more. The festival takes place along 20 blocks of Historic Downtown Springfield. Streets are closed, so you can meander leisurely without traffic concerns.

100_3936IMOA was one of the featured guests. In the big, and I mean big, parade on Friday evening, IMOA was first in line after the dignitaries and police led the parade. The streets were lined with spectators, some watching the parade in groups, some grilling out and having their own party. Nonetheless, they were all watching the parade. Quite a sight to behold.

On Saturday, the big festival really started moving on. IMOA had its own block of cars lined up on both sides of the street. IMOA had a registration tent and lots of people stopped by. Club applications and Quicksilvers were distributed to anyone interested in Mercurys.

About 3:30 p.m., we left the show to return to the hotel and prepare for our banquet.

The banquet was held in the Diamond Room at the Northfield Inn. We enjoyed a sit-down meal and cash bar. It was nice to relax after a couple of days of hurrying and scurrying to participate in the many events and attractions.

After dinner, awards were presented by Jerry Robbin and Virgil Klein, judging chairman. Recipients were surprised and thrilled with the award plaques, which were black with the dash plaque logo in the center.

During the evening, Joyce Culling and Judy Miller made their way through the crowd, selling half-pot tickets and the winner of the half-pot was Evelyn Miller. She took home $273.

After the awards were presented, Don and Joyce Culling conducted the raffle drawing. They had procured many nice gifts for the members to win.

With the end of the raffle, so came the end of our 2013 show. Members were saying their goodbyes, and some proceeded to the final “Free and Cold” Tailgate Party, sponsored by Wayne and Judy Miller in the parking lot of the hotel.

On Sunday morning, with rooms cleared, bags packed, and check-out over, we were “on the road again,” heading home until next year’s show. Hope to see you then!