The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is a salute to an icon, the people who created it, and to where it all began in Butler, Pennsylvania. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the original Bantam Jeep, this year was bigger than ever. In fact, a Guinness World Record-breaking number of 2,420 Jeeps cruised down Main Street on the event's opening day.
Leading the parade was a replica of the original Pilot, the prototype for the military-commissioned Bantam Recon Car constructed in 1940 for use in World War II. Seventy-five historic vehicles followed, representing the evolution of the brand from '40 to '15 in a parade that lasted over six hours. Jeeps hailed from 38 states, as well as Canada, this year. First-time attendee Bill Brokaw said, "This was our first time at Bantam, and I'm going to make it a tradition. I got goose bumps when I pulled into the parade staging area. The sight of thousands of Jeeps was memorable."
Bantam is a family-friendly weekend, filled with camping, trail rides, and an extensive display history. Beginning in 2011, the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival has been attracting a huge crowd, and attendance has grown year after year. More than 20,000 participants showed up this year for the three-day festival at Cooper's Lake Campground, just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nearly a century after the American Bantam Car Company delivered the world's most famous military 4x4, the WWII jeep is still fondly recognized on roads everywhere. This symbol of strength and freedom holds a special place in the hearts of many, and the ever-growing Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is proof of just that. Check out the gallery of photos to see the amazing number and variety of Jeeps in attendance this year.