AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Some big changes have been announced for Amarillo's 4th of July festivities that draw thousands of people to the city.
After a year of planning, the City of Amarillo and the Globe-News have teamed up with other businesses to change this year's 4th of July festivities to the "Amarillo Route 66 Celebration."
The largest change...activities will be moved to downtown Amarillo. And the main event will be on Saturday July 1st.
"We hope that the event will be something that will give people something to do all day long," said Les Simpson with the Globe-News. "Not just in the evening with the fireworks and have all kinds of fun and entertainment for the family."
The events include sixth street's "Heart of Amarillo" festival, the Amarillo Community Market, Kids City, Food Truck Alley, and a Casey Donahew concert at the Big Texan's Starlight Ranch.
"It's exciting because it's a big part of tourism," said Big Texan Co-Owner Bobby Lee. "And downtown Amarillo is part of tourism. The Big Texan is part of tourism and the collaborative effort between them both...that's powerful, that's powerful stuff. We're going to get lots of people in Amarillo staying at the hotels, staying in Amarillo discovering Amarillo, so it's a great day for the city of Amarillo."
One of the biggest concerns for residents seems to be parking downtown and fitting in such a large crowd. Many of our viewers voiced their concerns on Facebook this morning saying they don't think it's a good idea.
"The number one use of land downtown is for parking. There are thousands and thousands of parking spaces in the downtown area. Now you might not be able to park right next to where you want to be, you may have to walk a little bit, but we've put a plan together that we'll be releasing on June first that will have a map of the parking that's available," said Simpson.
There will be shuttles available from AC for those not wanting to park downtown. And though this is the first year for this new format, officials are optimistic.
"We think downtown is really a prime location and it's right in the center of the city, so people from all four corners of our community can meet in the center and have what we really hope will be a great community event."
Here is a list of complete details per the Globe-News:
Amarillo's Route 66 Celebration Schedule
7:30 p.m.: Casey Donahew Band concert at Starlight Ranch, 1415 Sunrise Drive. The weekend kicks off with a concert by the Casey Donahew Band at the Big Texan's new Starlight Ranch. There will be an admission fee. For more details visit bigtexan.com/starlight-ranch
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Amarillo Community Market on Polk Street: The market, which will run every Saturday during the summer, hosts live music and a variety of vendors selling vegetables, baked goods, jellies, arts and crafts and more. For more information, visit amarillocommunitymarket.com
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Route 66: The Heart of Amarillo 2017 Festival, Sixth Ave. The Historic 6th Street on Route 66 Association's annual event features a car show, swap meet, antique market, art show and an opportunity to shop and dine along the original Route 66. There also will be a dunking booth, smash-a-car, scavenger hunt, '50s and '60s dress up and much more. The event includes music throughout the day and the announcement of the Car Show Awards at 3 p.m. Proceeds will benefit 6th Street Association, Heal the City Clinic and San Jacinto Elementary School. For more information, visit amarillo66.com
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Transportation between Historic Sixth and Downtown Amarillo. An early 1900s-model San Francisco trolley will provide complimentary transportation between Sixth Avenue and Downtown Amarillo. More details, including a map of the pickup and drop-off locations, will be released June 1.
Noon to 7 p.m.: Kids City on the Potter County courthouse lawn. An afternoon of performances, entertainment, arts, crafts and plenty of fun things for kids to do will take place in the evening. Tommy the Hacker will emcee and play music while a balloon artist and juggler stroll through the crowd. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Kidsfest, an annual event that provides free backpacks and school supplies to students.
Noon. to 11 p.m.: Food Truck Alley along fifth and seventh streets between Taylor and Fillmore streets. An array of food trucks and other merchandise vendors will be selling throughout the day and after the fireworks show. A list of trucks has yet to be released.
4 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Hospitality centers along fifth and seventh streets between Fillmore and Pierce streets (location subject to change). Adult beverages will be available for purchase throughout the evening, though they must be consumed in designated hospitality areas.
6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.: The Toot'n Totum Main Stage. The Toot'n Totum Main Stage will be located in the heart of downtown Amarillo on the block south of the Potter County Courthouse and will feature an evening of an array of music, including:
Jack C'ryver and the Rock n Roll Cowboys: A five-piece rocking country band.
A-Town Rockers: A six-piece band, featuring two vocalists, that plays everything from '70s classics to the current hits.
Esquire Jazz Big Band: A 20-piece big band orchestra comprised of the top musicians in the Amarillo area will be performing thanks to a sponsorship by Esquire Jazz Club, opening late summer 2017 at 626 S. Polk St. in Downtown Amarillo.
Amarillo Mass Community Choir: Dan Baker, First Baptist Church minister of music, leads a choir comprised of members from area churches, including First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Central Church of Christ and Polk Street Methodist Church. The choir will perform a mix of patriotic and spiritual music.
9:45 p.m. (approximate): Fireworks show: Amarillo's Route 66 Celebration fireworks presentation will be twice the size of previous July 4 fireworks shows.
Off-site parking and transportation will be available at Amarillo College from 4 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. Parking will be allowed on Lot 1 on the northwest corner of AC's Washington Street campus. Buses will run to downtown and back, with the last bus leaving at approximately 11:30 p.m. More details, including a map of the pickup and drop off locations, will be released June 1.
The City of Amarillo parking garage will be open and available for paid parking. Other downtown parking will be available in public and private parking lots. Attendees should park only in areas marked by Amarillo's Route 66 Celebration signs. A detailed parking map will be released June 1 to the media and on the event website, amarillocelebratesroute66.com