Tales from the past: 2014 Cuba Fest Cemetery Tour

Will Delano was a character from Cuba, MO's past

Will Delano was involved in the Cuba apple industry in the late 1800s.

On Sunday, October 19 form 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm, Viva Cuba once again stages its popular Cemetery Tour: Tales from the Past. A vintage-style trolley will pick up tourers outside the Catholic Church in the Recklein Commons area. The tours are free although donations are accepted.

The Cuba Fest Trolley is a colorful part of the event.

The Cuba Fest Trolley is a colorful part of the event.

Tourers will ride to the Kinder Cemetery, on the west edge of town, where costumed characters from Cuba’s past will board the trolley to tell of what it was like “back in the day” and provide details from their own lives in a heartfelt and sometimes humorous way. This year historical figure Will Delano conducts the trolley tour and relates details from his life and points out a few of Cuba’s historical homes on the way to Kinder. Delano took part in the California Gold Rush and did a bit of wandering before reaching Cuba, so his experiences are wide-ranging.


Stay Town-Strong & Support Cuba Fest the 3rd weekend of October

Please visit Route 66 Cuba Fest on Facebook for updates and details about this Cuba, MO event. It is always the 3rd weekend of October.

Save this Date!  

Three reasons that you should support this yearly community event and help us stay town-strong.


Cuba, Missouri Rocks the Route 66 Race to the Rocker

UPDATE: The new website for the Route 66 Race to the Rocker is www.racetotherocker.com.

The race brings together the community and visitors for a common goal: the last bend of the race that puts the World's Largest Rocking Chair in sight.

The race brings together the community and visitors for a common goal: the last bend of the race that puts the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in sight.

March 22, 2014, (9:00 am Rain or Shine) creates race fever as the community prepares for a yearly event that brings out hundreds for the four-mile race that shuts down both lanes of Route 66 and raises 1000s for the fitness of Cuba kids. Last year, the 6th annual Route 66 Race to the Rocker brought in over $20,000 for Cuba’s kids. Close to 1000 racers pounded the Route 66 pavement .

The race begins in Cuba, MO’s historic mural district in front of 3rd Generation Salon and ends at the site of the World’s Largest Rocking Chair at the Fanning Route 66 Outpost General Store. The race is unique for its Route 66 route and its finish line. The goal for every participant of whatever age is to make that last bend of the race and see the massive rocker on the horizon.

Race to rocker finish

The 42′ Rocker looms in the background at the finish line.

Hayes Shoe Store has a rush for new tennis shoes. The walkers and runners hit the street in preparation for the race. All ages take part. The oldest runner was eighty and the youngest only one. Yes, you can use a stroller if you stay toward the back when the race starts.

The organizing group JOG,inc. and Race Director Brad Austin begin planning the next year’s race as soon as the current one is over. Committees form to take care of the myriad of details involved in the Friday night Expo and Spaghetti Dinner. The Saturday race must be well-organized and coordinated with Big River Running. Registration has to flow smoothly.

The race also garners attention for the town. Rural Missouri Magazine featured the Rocker on its cover and profiled the town on the inside cover of its March issue. Jim McCarty’s photo of the rocker is enough to make other racees green with envy.

Jim McCarty's photo on the cover of the March Rural Missouri Magazine is a striking intro to the race and the town, which are profiled.

Jim McCarty’s photo on the cover of the March Rural Missouri Magazine is a striking intro to the race and the town, which are profiled.

AAA’s March/April Midwest Traveler Magazine also covered the race and our town in its article “Show Me the Mother Road” by Deborah Reinhardt.

In her article Reinhardt has this to say about Cuba:

A short drive west from Stanton brings you to Cuba, an interesting town with an impressive collection of outdoor murals, some devoted to Route 66. If you’re in town on March 22, you’ll likely see runners participating in the annual Race to the Rocker. The world’s largest rocking chair–according to the Guinness Book of World Records–is in Cuba. You’ll also find the restored Wagon Wheel Motel, 901 E. Washington. Several restaurants, including Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q, are in town and well worth sampling.


It’s a small world: Cuba, Missouri and Riverside, California share history

As Viva Cuba members travel, we often notice that it really is a small world. One of our members recently noticed a Cuba connection during a visit to Riverside, California.

What do Cuba, Missouri and Riverside, California have in common?  Both towns enjoyed visits from two famous women, Amelia Earhart and Bette Davis.

Earhart and Davis are depicted on large outdoor murals along the Route 66 corridor, commemorating their stopovers in Cuba, Missouri.

Earhart made an emergency landing in a field near Cuba, Missouri on September 4, 1928.  Finding no damage to her plane, she continued her journey to Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Cuba's and Earhart's destinies met in 1928.

Cuba’s and Earhart’s destinies met in 1928.

The Mission Inn, a beautiful hotel in Riverside, California boasts two noteworthy pictures of the celebrities that can be seen at the Mission Inn Museum.

This Amelia Earhart photo at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

This Amelia Earhart photo at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California features a visit from Amelia Earhart.

The first picture shows DeWitt Hutchings, son-in-law of the builder of the Mission Inn Frank Miller, visiting with Amelia Earhart and the Mission’s pet macaws, Joseph and Napoleon on February 3, 1936. She was honored in a ceremony held at the Mission Inn.  The following year, in 1937, Earhart, along with her navigator vanished over the Pacific Ocean when they attempted the first flight around the world.   

Just as Cuba does, the Mission Inn Museum provides a lesson plan for local students on the famed aviatrix. Their lesson plans are for third graders while Viva Cuba’s are for fourth graders to coincide with their spring Missouri History Month. View one of our resulting fourth grader mural tours here. You will see Cuba’s version of Amelia Earhart.

Both communities also have a connection to the famed Academy Award winning actress Bette Davis.

Actress Bette Davis, whose real name was Ruth Elizabeth Davis, was married on November 30, 1945, to William Grant Sherry in the St. Francis Chapel at the Mission Inn. Read more about it on the museum’s website.

Bette Davis was married at the Mission Inn in 1945.

Bette Davis was married at the Mission Inn in 1945.

Three years later, in 1948, she visited Cuba, Missouri where she dined at the Southern Hotel. Read about it here. Her visit is depicted in a mural on the Cuba Free Press building along Route 66.

Cuba, Mo Bette Davis Mural

The Bette Davis mural depicts her visit to Cuba, MO in the 1940s.

Yes, it’s a small world. If you haven’t visited Cuba, stop by sometime and visit. And bring your camera.



Cuba, Missouri, today, tomorrow, & technology

Cuba, Missouri on Pinterest

Cuba, Missouri now has a Pinterest presence.

Cuba, Missouri is proud of its history, its development, and its art. Viva Cuba sometimes boasts that we are a community where “Art Meets History.”

All of that’s still true, but Viva Cuba has also embraced technology and social media. In addition to this website and blog, we are on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Read about Cuba, Missouri on Viva Cuba's Facebook page.

Viva Cuba’s Facebook page contains 100s of photos and status reports about the community.

Viva Cuba re-designed its website since its 2009 beginning with a mobile friendly interface in mind.

On this blog, which is part of our website, we have over 376 posts about people, places, and events concerning Cuba. Many deal with Cuba’s history and heritage. Our posts always contain photos and graphics, so you can not only read about our heritage, you can see it as well.

Viva Cuba’s Facebook page Cuba, MO Murals & More contains 100s of photos about the activities and scenes of Cuba, MO. Our Facebook posts also update to our Twitter account.

Our Pinterest site contains 11 boards and over 500 pins/photos.

You can find videos about the Cuba murals and our community on You Tube.

Viva Cuba’s future plans include placing QR codes on each of the murals. The codes will open with online information and a map to each mural.

Of course, the best way to experience Cuba, Missouri is in person–and bring a camera.

Time does not stand still, and neither do we. We say, “Cuba is a small town (pop 3400) with big ideas.”  Stay tuned.


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