By Jackie Gonzales
The 2,451 miles that make up historic Route 66 are taking center stage at the 2018 Los Angeles County Fair. With at least seven different attractions based around the country spanning road, this year’s fair will provide visitors with an in-depth look at Route 66 and remind everyone from Santa Monica through the Foothills how history weaves its way through their city.
The primary Route 66 attraction is Alt 66, a fine art exhibit presented in the Millard Sheets Art Center. A focus on the experience of those who traversed the historic road over the years drives the exhibit. Comprised of 14 different installations with contributions by 18 different artists from the greater Los Angeles area, the exhibit seeks to explore the unique experiences of different ethnic minorities on the route while creating snapshots of the historic landmarks and attractions along Route 66. The entire exhibit is designed to be an immersive experience and allows visitors to understand the history of not only this famous highway, but the country itself.
If the fine art exhibit does not fulfill one’s desire for Route 66 knowledge, the fair offers a number of other creative ways to experience a little slice of American history. Haunted 66 combines an educational exhibit with interactive Halloween artwork and a maze for visitors to explore. At the atrium, the fair brings vintage postcards to life, complete with live animals and other props; visitors can get a taste of different stops along the state hopping highway. For more education on Route 66 in other states, the Mother Road exhibit at the LA County Fair explores all eight states that the route crosses.
For residents of the San Gabriel Valley, there is a wealth of information to learn at the fair, given that the once historic route has become difficult to trace through the cities without a little bit of assistance. Historic66.com is a great place to track the ever popular route through Los Angeles County and out of the state. It has a comprehensive turn by turn guide for navigating the route as one long historic road trip.
Tracing Route 66 through Monrovia, Arcadia, and Pasadena is fairly simple, as it mainly follows Huntington Drive through the two eastern cities and then heads North onto Colorado. However, pre-1933 Route 66 throughout Monrovia into Arcadia followed Foothill Boulevard for a short distance until reaching Santa Anita Avenue, after which, a few turns brought you back to the modern Route. Small little changes like this are part of the charm and history of one of America’s most well-known roads. Every landmark and attraction that lined Historic Route 66 added to the overall culture and history of America.
This year’s Route 66 themed Los Angeles County Fair promises to bring both fun and education to a topic whose details are long forgotten. From the native plants and state specific quirks of the route, to a thoughtful exploration of race and its relation to the historic highway, there are kicks for everyone to enjoy at this year’s LA County Fair.