WINSLOW, Ariz. - Winslow's 17th annual Standin' on the Corner Festival takes place Sept. 25-26 in Winslow, an annual event that started in 1999, which coincided with the unveiling of a mural and statue in the park.
The festival will take place in downtown Winslow on Historic Route 66 (West Second Street) and North Campbell Avenue at the Eagle Pavilion located behind the Winslow Chamber of Commerce (Historic Hubbell Building) and Visitor's Center. The Eagle Pavilion was built by the Standin' on the Corner Foundation with donations from businesses, individuals, the city of Winslow and funds raised from the festival and volunteers. The foundation's mission is the redevelopment of Winslow (the mission used to be the redevelopment of just the historic district but it has expanded that mission to include all of Winslow).
Sabrina Butler, with the Standin' on the Corner Foundation, said the first festival sixteen years ago was an impromptu celebration for the completion and opening of the park, which has now grown into a huge festival, which draws five to 10,000 people over the weekend.
"There was once a sign on the west end of Winslow that said, "Ten thousand nice people welcome you to Winslow," she said. "The saying is still true to this day. The people of Winslow are very nice and we welcome all surrounding communities to come and have a good time with us at the festival."
The event celebrates the well-known single "Take it Easy," written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, which became a hit in the 1970s for the Eagles and put the community of Winslow on the map. The verse 'standin' on the corner in Winslow, Arizona' draws visitors from far and wide to stand on that famous corner on historic Route 66.
Throughout the festival, vendors will sell everything from crafts, food and clothing. The event has fun for the entire family. A beer garden will have a tasting tent.
"We have a lot to celebrate," Butler said. "The festival is a great time for the community to come out and enjoy great music by local talents and bands with statewide recognition, great food and drink vendors, a play area for the kids and other vendors selling their unique wares."
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. both days with returning bands: Tommy Dukes, Stephen Padilla and Take it to the Limit, an Eagles cover band, performing. In addition to these familiar names some well- known bands who are new to the event will hit the stage for the first time including Zona Road, Higeria and Desert Dixie.
"Many class reunions are scheduled to coincide with the festival, so many Winslow graduates who have moved away come back and reconnect, reminisce with old friends and classmates," Butler said. "Where better to do this than at the festival? There are also many people from out of town who make coming to the festival an annual road trip. They come back year after year because it is such a great time."
On Sept. 26 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the annual Standin' on the Corner Foundation Auction takes place, which is the big fundraiser for the foundation. Raffle winners for a scooter donated by the Standin' on the Corner Foundation and the "Rock Star" skateboard will be announced at 5 p.m. during the auction.
"The live auction... is always fun with many desirable items donated by area businesses, individuals and professional athletic teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Mercury, Coyotes and Arizona Cardinals," Butler said.
She said the city of Winslow also benefits greatly from the festival, which is the foundation's mission.
"Motels are booked, restaurants and other businesses experience increased revenues over the course of the event and, in turn, tax dollars are raised, which are to be used in the efforts of the renaissance of our community," Butler said.
In addition, the festival is a chance for everyone to shop local, which is important for a small community. Butler said that local businesses are generous with donations to the event and to the live auction.
"The money raised ensures the foundation will be able to continue with the annual festival, keeping the park and the pavilion in top form and continuing in the efforts to improve our community," Butler said.
Butler said that the history of the park is also important to remember and without the founding members' hard work and determination, the vision of the historic downtown of Winslow would have been lost.
Seeing the success of their efforts to save La Posada, Marie Lamaar and Janice Griffith focused their attention on creating another attraction in Winslow that capitalized on the hit song, "Take it Easy."
"The Standing on the Corner Foundation was formed by these women and a group of private citizens, including Glenn and Yvonne Howeth, Larry Benham, Chris and Larry Payne, Bert Peterson, Greg and Connie Hacker," Butler said, adding that many others have continued the foundation with success and growth.
The Standin' on the Corner Park was built brick by brick with donations made by local businesses, individuals, many volunteer hours and investments by the city of Winslow. The Kaufman family donated the property where the park on the corner is located. The location was, and still is, in downtown Winslow at Kinsley Avenue and Third Street. John Pugh painted a two-story mural for the park and the iconic, bronze life-size 1970s Rock and Roll guitarist, made by Ron Adamson, was placed over personalized donor bricks.
"Today the parks stands as a testament to these amazing people and all their hard work," Butler said. "The park sees thousands of visitors from the across the nation and world, ... those tourist dollars support many local businesses all around town."
The Standin' on the Corner Park and La Posada were recently voted the number one and two icons on Route 66 in an online poll at http://www.route66news.com/2015/01/01/top-10-icons-route-66/ and a photograph of the park as a meme went viral on the Internet.
"It's very cool to see our park and town getting this kind of exposure," Butler said. The Standing on the Corner Festivals are great time to see old friends, make some news ones, laugh, dance, drink, eat and really just 'take it easy' and have a whole lot of fun."