History of the Rendezvous
The Rendezvous Back to Route 66 came about after the San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau's Route 66 Rendezvous lost its funding from the City after 22 years. Throughout those years, the Rendezvous brought thousands of people to the four-day event. The San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce, in 2013, decided to keep the spirit of the Route 66 Rendezvous alive by putting together a two-day classic car show held at San Manuel Stadium that brought in fewer cars and a smaller audience. With the success of the Great Race event in June 2015, the City offered to help bring the Rendezvous back to the streets of Downtown on the same footprint as the Great Race.
The San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau conceived the Route 66 Rendezvous in 1990. The Bureau still owns the Route 66 Rendezvous name and registered trademark.
Downtown San Bernardino has welcomed classic car cruising for the past 33 years thanks to the Rendezvous.
Below, enjoy 33 years of Rendezvous artwork from 1990 to 2023.
The first Rendezvous took place in 1990 at Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore with 300 vehicles and about 4,000 spectators enjoying the cars. A cruise down “E” Street and a concert were highlights of that first event.
In 1991, the event moved to the National Orange Show grounds and expanded with the help of the Over the Hill Gang.
The Rendezvous moved to the heart of downtown San Bernardino in 1992. That year, more than 700 vehicles filled the streets in celebration of the 66th anniversary of Route 66 “The Mother Road.”
The turning point that put the Rendezvous on the map as a major celebration for nostalgia buffs nationwide came in 1997. Stater Bros. Market, a locally owned supermarket chain, came on board as the title sponsor.
Attendance continued to grow each year with a estimated attendance close to 500,000 for the last event in 2012.
The Cars Are The Stars
Car buffs from all over the country gather in San Bernardino to get their “Kicks on Route 66.” The Route 66 Rendezvous was a 4-day and 3-night cruisin’ classic car show encompassing 35 blocks of downtown.
Open to vehicles from 1900-1974, classics, muscle cars, hot rods, and trucks cruised the historic streets of San Bernardino.
For the past 10 years, the Rendezvous Back to Route 66 continued the annual tradition of cruisin' the streets of downtown San Bernardino but on a smaller scale. The car show is one day and covers the streets in the immediate downtown area. Nevertheless, this event continues to sell out with 1,200 classic vehicles converging on downtown San Bernardino thanks to this grass-roots, community effort led by the Chamber of Commerce. Their efforts continued the excitement of the original Rendezvous on the streets of San Bernardino, "Where It All Began!"