Drivin' the Dixie reverses course but continues traditions

The 18th annual Drivin' the Dixie motor tour on Saturday, June 15, will defy gravity, after a fashion, by swimming upstream. 
Drivin' the Dixie always attracts motorists with restored vintage cars. (Chronicle 2018 file photo)
  Drivin' the Dixie always attracts
  motorists with restored vintage
 (Chronicle 2018 file photo)

The celebration of the historic Dixie Highway has always started in Blue Island and followed a route south to Momence. This year, for the first time, the tour will start in Momence and travel north to Blue Island.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. at the Earl D. Schnoeffner Farm Museum, 105 E. Second St. Cars will begin the journey about 9 a.m. and the last cars are expected to leave Momence by 10 a.m., according to event founder Elaine Egdorf.

The tour includes activities and points of interest at the dozen participating communities.

"Along the way we visit a railroad depot museum, participate in vegetable races, all town garage sales in one town, visit a town recognized officially as on the Underground Railroad, have a free hot dog lunch, see a car show and visit a roller rink," Egdorf said. 

The event includes stops in Flossmoor and Homewood. The Flossmoor stop will be at Flossmoor Family Automotive Repair, 2733 Flossmoor Road. The Homewood stop will be at the Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway.

Participants also are encouraged to take a self-guided tour of Homewood's 15 Richard Haas murals. 

The drive will end in Blue Island with a vintage baseball game beside the canal. 

The towns on the route display interpretive signs featuring the history of Dixie Highway, the history of that town along with photographs and a national map of the Dixie Highway, which goes from Chicago to Florida.  

In Homewood the sign is in Independence Park on Dixie Highway at Hickory Road. The sign is an Illinois State Historical Society historic marker and a mileage marker stating the miles to cities along Dixie Highway to Florida.  

The event was Initiated by the Village of Homewood Heritage Committee. In the early years, the event was limited to vintage cars, but eventually it was opened up to all vehicle. The event still attracts a number of vintage, classic and customized vehicles.

Registered vehicles are issued a tour guide, map and a passport to be stamped at each stop. Free raffle tickets are given for each stamp on the passports. Families are welcome.

Registration on day of event is $20. If paying by check, make checks to Blue Island Chamber of Commerce, 2434 Vermont Street, Blue Island, IL 60406 or register online at www.drivinthedixie.com. Registration is required to participate in car events and to have passports stamped. Participants must begin in Momence. 

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