News: Military exhibit features at Route 66 Festival
Story by Cpl. Thomas Bricker
BARSTOW, Calif. - The food and drink from the many food trucks or classic cars on display weren’t the only attractions at the Taste of 66 Gourmet Food Truck and Wine Festival held at the San Bernardino Fairgrounds Aug. 10-11 in Victorville, Calif.
A broad military display was staged in a large warehouse on both days of the event, to reveal many items from several eras of the United States military, including vehicles, large caliber weapons, scale models, and an identification card center, where guests could have a World War II-era I.D. card made.
The display came to fruition after members of the California Route 66 Museum board, based in Victorville, asked one of their fellow members if he could put something together, showcasing the military at the festival.
“The [Route] 66 board came to me and asked if I could make something for the festival that weekend,” explained Daniel
Tate, the president of the Don Ferrarese Charitable Foundation, and sponsor of the display. “I wanted to pay tribute to the veterans and military of today so I started to work on getting a display together.” Tate explained that displaying military vehicles at the festival wouldn’t be the first time the “Mother Road” had a meeting with these vehicles.
“[The military] used to use Route 66 a long time ago to help facilitate and transport military supplies,” Tate said. “It got stuff from one end of the country to the other a lot faster and easier than it normally would,” he added, referring to days when Route 66 was most traveled and in its prime.
To bring the different parts of the exhibit together, Tate called around to several contacts he had in the High Desert.
“I have a few friends who have several older military vehicles restored and wanted to be part of the display,” Tate said.
Through Tate initiating the exhibit, friends of his began calling other friends and soon, a network of items for the military display had been collected and several areas in the High Desert including Barstow, Daggett, Yermo, and Victorville were able to provide vehicles and other restored military memorabilia.
Once the items were in place and the exhibit was ready for the public, guests began making their way to massive display to see what it had to offer. Some of the spectators were left in awe of all the vintage military items.
“The military displays were awesome. It was great to spend time getting to see them,” explained Jim Conkle, host of the web show, Route 66 TV. “I am part of the board of the California Route 66 museum here in Victorville, so that’s why I went to the festival, but I knew Dan [Tate] so I knew I was going to have to check out this as well,” he added.
The exhibit brought a lot of veterans together to see vehicles from when they served their country. The images of these restored vehicles brought back memories and emotions from a day when these veterans once wore the uniform.
“Seeing it made me think back to my day in the Corps,” said Conkle, a Marine veteran, who served from 1957 to 1964. “[My days as a Marine along with this display] are something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he added.
Conkle, one of the last ‘original’ corporals, before the rank of lance corporal was added to the rank structure, had spent time as a communication specialist, rifleman, and photographer. Seeing the exhibit brought back a rush of pride from serving in the Marine Corps he explained.
Even though the planning phase of the display was short, the military exhibit at the festival went off so well, Tate explained, it may become a regular part of the annual event from now on.