By Joanna Dodder Nellans
If you get a kick out of Route 66 nostalgia and classic cars, the Route 66 Fun Run is the perfect combo.
The 32nd annual Fun Run starts in Seligman Friday, May 3 and winds 140 miles to the Colorado River by Sunday, May 5. It’s the longest remaining continuous stretch of Old Route 66, and travelers are sure to feel a blast from the past at every stop.
“We get people from all over the world,” relates the “Angel of Route 66,” Angel Delgadillo. “They know the American Dream is alive and well.”
Angel, still spry at 92, was the driving force behind the Fun Run that kick-started the revival of Route 66 after the Interstate Highway System paved over much of the Mother Road and left the remainder struggling to survive when visitation plummeted.
“This is the little town where Route 66 got its rebirth,” Angel says of his hometown of Seligman, the inspiration for Radiator Springs in the “Cars” movie series.
Just over an hour’s drive from Prescott in northern Yavapai County, Seligman is the best spot for Prescottonians to check out the Fun Run during a day trip May 3 or 4.
More than 800 vintage vehicles start converging in Seligman on Friday, May 3. The Delgadillo family band kicks off the fun Friday at the Snow Cap with Angel on sax, his brother Joe on guitar, his nephew John on drums and their friend Pat on bass. More music, dancing and a car parade round out the evening.
Nothing stirs up Route 66 nostalgia better than the Snow Cap, with its neon lights, bright colors and kitschy signs. John’s late father Juan built it in 1953 with the help of his brothers and quickly established a reputation as a jokester. John and his son Juan faithfully carry on Juan’s pranks with the aid of other family members. We won’t ruin the fun by revealing all the wacky antics that await you.
“People come for that – if you don’t do it, they get upset,” John relates. “We just have a great old time.”
This is a special year for the Snow Cap as it celebrates its 66th year on Route 66. By the way, it originated as a franchise of the former Snow Cap at the corner of Iron Springs and Willow Creek roads in Prescott in the 1950s.
Another favorite stop is Angel and Vilma’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop. Be sure to pick up your free Arizona Route 66 Passport there, then take your time getting it stamped all along the Mother Road.
Fun Run vehicles start lining up on Route 66 at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5, then Angel sends them off at 10 a.m. so participants can start motoring west on the highway that’s the best.
“Historic Route 66 is truly an iconic preservation of American history, and I am so blessed to be a part of it,” said Katie Delgadillo, part of the next generation that promises to continue the fun.
If you go:
Getting there from Prescott:
Drive north on Highway 89 to I-40, then west about 25 miles to the two Seligman exits (take the first exit in case construction work hasn’t finished along the second exit). You also can take the Crookton Road exit and drive west on Route 66 to Seligman.
Fun Run schedule in Seligman:
Friday, May 3
Noon-6 p.m. – early Fun Run registration at Acme Mobile Storage building
Approx. 1-3 p.m. – Delgadillo band performs at Snow Cap
4-9 p.m. – All-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner at St. Francis Catholic Church
7 p.m. – Cruisin’ Route 66 vehicle parade
7-11 p.m. – John Delgadillo DJ music at Snow Cap
7-11 p.m. – Live music at Black Cat Bar
Saturday, May 4
7:30-10 a.m. – Final registration at Acme and cars line up on Route 66
10 a.m. – Angel Delgadillo signals the start of the Fun Run and cars head west
Delgadillo family businesses:
Snow Cap drive-in: Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during Fun Run; more info on Facebook
Angel and Vilma’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop: Open 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. during Fun Run; on the web at Route66GiftShop.com with a wealth of history on Route 66, Seligman, Fun Run and the Angel of Route 66
Fun Run registration website: