Route 66 Blue Hippo Festival 

Edmond is uniquely placed along Route 66—turning a corner at downtown, which takes drivers south to Oklahoma City or east to Arcadia. As Oklahoma inches closer to the 100th Anniversary of Route 66 in 2026, cities along the Mother Road are gearing up for an influx of national and international tourism. 

But Why Wait Two More Years to Have Fun?

Stephenson Park just reopened, and Edmondites are ready to play in a big BLUE way! Edmond may not have a totem pole, a Christmas leg lamp, or an oversized blue whale—but we DO have a blue hippo at 12th & Broadway. This displaced water animal, living in central Oklahoma, is quirky enough to have earned a reputation as Edmond’s Route 66 mascot. A steady stream of tourists stop to photograph the Blue Hippo, although the locals are just starting to remember that they’ve driven past it every day for 33 years.

A Big Blue Festival

The Route 66 Blue Hippo Festival celebrates Edmond’s history and pop culture with a hefty dose of silliness for kids of all ages. In addition to carnival-style activities, visitors can participate in Hippo Trivia throughout the park or compete at the Hungry Hungry Hippo game station, try to win a Hot Wheels race, tour the Historic Rodkey House and American Legion Hut, or purchase one of the hippo art pieces being created LIVE during the festival.

To create the right atmosphere, over 20 classic and modern cars will line the park—all blue, of course. Musicians will perform the BLUES, BLUEgrass, and old-fashioned Rock-n-Roll music in the new pavilion. Musicians include Kyle Dillingham, Katie Bradford, Kentucky Daisy Band, and Jimmy Dale Richardson’s 1950s/1960s Band & Dancers. The Blue Hippo will remain in his current location in front of Glass Solutions, but festival attendees are welcome to stop by and take a selfie.

The Route’s Roots

Long before the hippo, Edmond was an agricultural town, relying heavily upon the train to transport crops and processed grains. However, a shift occurred in the 1920s. Edmond began to grow in population and grow weary of the dirty, muddy streets pitted by wagon wheel ruts. With the purchase of more cars, automobile and horse drivers had to learn to drive together.

These road challenges in Edmond also occurred throughout the country. The development of Route 66 was a national effort to ease road travel and connect communities. In the mid-1920s, Edmond began to pave roads, and with that improvement, Route 66 tourists came, too.

Travelers meant tourist dollars, and enterprising Edmondites began to open the service businesses needed by drivers: gas stations, auto repair shops, restaurants, and motor courts (motels). Unlike many towns along the route, however, Edmond failed to create an iconic roadside attraction that lured families out of their cars with their cameras. Edmond became a pass-through town, mostly available for convenience.

Who Doesn’t Love a Big Blue Hippo?

With Route 66 nostalgia on the rise again, the Mother Road is reinventing itself. New roadside mascots are being developed, and public response has already proven that quirky and unique photo opportunities are as important as old and historic ones. The Blue Hippo, who has smiled at Edmond drivers since 1991, almost seems like a Route 66 original compared to the newbies on the scene.

The Route 66 Blue Hippo Festival is a celebration of both old and new, goofy and blue. Come enjoy a little history, a fair amount of playfulness, and a whole lot of hippo. You certainly won’t walk away feeling, uh, blue.

The event takes place  SATURDAY, JUNE 15th 10 A.M. TO 4 P.M. at Stephenson Park and the Edmond History Museum, 431 S. Boulevard. Visit to learn more. Vendor booths may still be available.

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