SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — The iconic Giant Slide will reopen its gates Thursday as the 2022 Illinois State Fair begins, but this year, it’s a part of something new.

Visitors are invited to “Slide Down Route 66” now that the highway’s logo has been added to the Giant Slide. It’s a part of the growing Route 66 Experience at the fair, in the gate 2 area of the grounds.

This new design is a collaboration between new owner Doug Knight of Knight’s Action Park and the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (SCVB) to kick off the celebration of Route 66’s 100th anniversary in 2026.

“This will become the centerpiece of a marketing campaign by the SCVB around the expanded Route 66 Experience at the fairgrounds. I expect 250,000 visitors to ‘Slide Down 66’ between now and the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026,” said SCVB Director Scott Dahl.

Beginning in 2023, the slide will be operated seasonally from May through August on Saturdays for locals and visitors to enjoy an opportunity to “Slide Down 66.”

In addition to the Giant Slide, the Route 66 Experience is also adding a 40-foot Route 66 neon sign.

Those interested can visit gate 2 of the fairgrounds to learn the history of the highway and learn more about how the SCVB is preparing for the 100th anniversary in 2026.