CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Many Illinoisans witnessed a peculiar site over the weekend when a ‘Gigantar’ journeyed across Central Illinois on Route 66.

Springfield, Ill.
Courtesy: Ron Romero

The 24-foot-tall guitar began its journey in Asbury Park, N.Y., known for its association with Bruce Springsteen. It then made its way to Springfield, Ill. where Ron Romero joined the journey to accompany the guitar to its new home, the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum in Joliet. Romero is the executive director of the museum, which is set to open this spring.

The Gigantar made stops at many attractions along the historic route, including Motorheads Bar and Grill in Springfield, which also serves as one of many Route 66 museums in the country.

Lincoln, Ill.
Courtesy: Ron Romero

“It was a surreal experience,” said Romero. “Everybody was so welcoming in every town we stopped in. Some towns even gave us police escorts.”

Other stops include the statue of Abraham Lincoln reading a book on a covered wagon in Lincoln, the Paul Bunyan statue in Atlanta, Sprague’s Super Station in Normal, the famous Route 66 mural in Pontiac, and the Gemini Giant in Wilmington.

The guitar finally arrived in Joliet in time for the celebratory lighting ceremony at the museum on Friday, featuring Rockford, Ill. native Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick.

Atlanta, Ill.
Courtesy: Ron Romero

Romero commissioned world-renowned Beatles artist Shannon MacDonald to create the guitar that will be the outdoor centerpiece of the museum.

“It seemed fitting to have the guitar be the centerpiece of the museum,” Romero said. “I created the museum to showcase how Illinois music of all kinds has influenced our pop culture. I am excited to open our doors soon.”

Pontiac, Ill.
Courtesy: Ron Romero

The museum, located on Route 66, will feature such artifacts including a double-head guitar, awards won by Chicago musician Koko Taylor, and handwritten lyrics by other Illinois-based artists.

“I’m the guy who came up with the crazy idea for the museum,” Romero said. “I wanted to preserve, honor and promote Illinois music, and this is the way to do it.”

More information about the museum can be found here.

Sam Godby (WMBD) also contributed to the reporting of this article.