Plans are underway to make Jeep history in Butler, Pennsylvania, once again. Butler is the birthplace of the Jeep, and now the community is creating its own signature event called the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival to be held August 12-14.
The three-day event features a Jeep parade and cruise in downtown Butler on Friday, August 12, when organizers hope to set a new standard in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest Jeep parade. The Festival will move to the Butler County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, August 13-14.
The inaugural event will host numerous activities, from a WWII timeline and encampment showcasing 20 original Jeeps to professional driver demonstrations.
“We are expecting thousands of Jeep enthusiasts to come to Butler County to help us set a Guinness Book record and enjoy all of the activities that we are planning,” said Jack Cohen, executive director of the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, which is the organization spearheading the event. “We hope this festival will quickly become one of the premier Jeep events in the Mid-Atlantic region.
An overview of events being planned include:
Friday, August 12 Downtown Butler
Jeep Parade Jeeps of all makes, models, and years are invited to participate in the parade. The first 500 participating Jeeps registered and paid will receive a commemorative dash plaque. The parade route will begin at Butler County Community College and proceed north on Route 8 where Jeeps will be parked along Main Street for a cruise. DJs will play a variety of music and downtown Butler businesses will offer specials and other entertainment. The parade will begin at 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, August 13-14 Butler County Fairgrounds
History Pavilion A new exhibit highlighting the history of the Bantam Jeep will debut at the festival. The original Bantam Jeep, as well as other historical made-in-Butler vehicles, will be on display. Videos, artifacts, and photography will tell the story of how the Jeep was born in Butler and how it contributed to World War II. Attendees will also enjoy the opportunity to talk to veterans and Jeep historians.
Jeep Show ’n’ Shine
Jeeps will be polished and available for all to admire. Jeeps will be parked according to 15 different classes, and winners of the peer-judged show will receive trophies. Organizers hope to have a large number of military Jeeps on display to help celebrate Butler’s Jeep heritage.
Jeep owners will have the chance to drive on two off-road trails constructed through the woods on the fairground property. An obstacle course and other fun and challenging off-road elements will be available for participants.
Many companies will be on hand to showcase products, parts, and accessories.
Jeep Trading Post
Individuals who have used Jeep parts for sale will be able to sell their merchandise at the event.
Festival-goers will be invited to join the Butler Outdoor Club on several outdoor excursions in nearby Moraine State Park. Activities include hiking, kayaking, canoeing, birdwatching, geocaching, and more.
Thousands of dollars in merchandise will be given away throughout the event. Participating vendors will provide valuable prizes for the raffle.
Little Jeepers Playground
A children’s area will provide fun and games for kids.
Live entertainment is planned for Saturday night.
Diehl Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Butler and Quadratec have signed on as the event’s premier sponsors. Rausch Creek Off-Road Park is designing and managing the Jeep Playground.
Pre-registration is now available at www.bantamjeepfestival.com
Five participant packages enable Jeep enthusiasts to be involved in the festival in a variety of ways. Early-bird prices range from $5 for “The Cruiser” (Jeep parade and cruise only) to $55 for “The Ultimate Off-Roader” (Jeep Playground with two on-site trails and various driver challenges, one off-site scenic trail ride, Show ’n’ Shine, and parade and cruise.) Spectator admission is $7 for adults and $3 for kids, ages 3 to 12.
“Participant pre-registration became available in late October, and we already have registrants from nine states and Ontario, Canada,” Cohen said. “We’re really excited about the response we’ve received from Jeep owners, and we still have many months before the event. If what we’re seeing now is any indication of the level of interest we’ll have as the event gets closer, I expect the Festival will exceed our expectations and hopefully those of everyone who attends.”
On-site camping with water and electric is also available. Reservations for campsites are now being accepted.
Numerous sponsorship opportunities and vendor spaces are available for companies and individuals who wish to promote their organization and/or products to event attendees.
Those interested in learning more about the Festival, registering their Jeep, volunteering, being a sponsor, or reserving a vendor space can learn more at www.bantamjeepfestival.com or by contacting the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau at (724) 234-4619.
For more information, contact:
Patti Jo Lambert