Wigwam a Kick on Route 66

Showman Charles Phoenix to host retro pow-wow at teepee-themed hotel chain
Pow Wow
Charles Phoenix
Charles Phoenix heads pow-wow party.

Everyone knows about getting your kicks on Route 66, but for self-proclaimed 'Ambassador of Americana' Charles Phoenix, the Wigwam is the way.

"I'm just trying to serve up Americana to America," said author/entertainer Phoenix. "I'm going for the undiscovered, and the Wigwam is that."

The Wigwam Motel is a creation of Frank Redford, a collector of Native American culture who built the first of his seven patented, teepee-themed motor hotels in his home state of Kentucky in 1934.

The final one was built on Route 66 in 1949 on the border of Rialto and San Bernardino, and it still stands along with those in Cave City, Kentucky and Holbrook, Arizona.

In celebration of the newly restored California site being the third one added to the National Register of Historic Places, Phoenix is hosting a 'Wigwam Pow Wow' there from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 21.

"We're going to turn it into a sort of theme park for the day," said Phoenix, who also offers a periodic 'Disneyland Tour of Los Angeles' that portrays L.A. as such. "To me, the whole world is a theme park!"

The 'Wigwam Pow Wow' will feature a show of vintage trailers and cars, a weenie roast, and one of Phoenix's signature slide shows about 'autocamping' on Route 66. Vintage dress is encouraged.

'Weenie roast' actually might not be doing the dinner justice, as the hot dogs are manufactured by the staff of Gazzalo's Sausage Co. in San Bernardino, who also have been doing their thing tastefully since the 1960s.

All attractions are covered by a $49 admission fee, but Wigwam owner Kumar Patel warns that the vintage trailer owners have already rented all 19 teepees. Phoenix said he plans to crown Patel a 'King of Americana' in thanks for his family's ongoing restoration of the motel.

For more information about the Wigwam Motel, the 'Pow Wow,' and event tickets, click here.