8,000 Jeeps at 6th Annual Great Smoky Mountain Invasion

    2018 Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion

    Traci ClarkPhotographer, Writer

    Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is the place to be in late August if you are a die-hard Jeep enthusiast. The 6th Annual Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion was bigger and better than last year’s event, surpassing the number of Jeeps in attendance by more than 1,000 rigs. More than 20,000 people passed through the LeConte Center grounds for this vendor-driven event put on by the Smoky Mountain Jeep Club and title event sponsor Rugged Ridge. Over 150 vendors and manufacturers set up displays inside and outside during this last-blast-of-summer Jeep extravaganza.

    The welcome party at the Hard Rock Cafe on Thursday evening kicked off the event, and hundreds of Jeeps filled the parking lot to capacity; hundreds more cruised up and down the main drag of Pigeon Forge. Friday morning broke clear and cool as Jeepers that had pre-registered for the Show ’n’ Shine found their designated areas. The show was divided into different classes for the 2018 Invasion, and a limited number of applications were accepted. Each class had a large number of entries, making it a difficult task for the judges to choose their daily winners. On Saturday, every available parking spot in the vicinity that could hold a Jeep was taken, and the crowds descended on the event center to check out the latest Jeep accessories available and to get their tickets for the huge raffle at the end of the day.

    In addition to Jeep Invasion, there are plenty of great things for the whole family to do in the area. It’s in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains and the national park is just a few scenic miles up the road. A favorite is the Sunday run to Cades Cove. If you want to do a little off-roading during this vacation, Windrock OHV Park is just over an hour away and offers a variety of trail options for all skill levels. The 7th annual event will be held August 23-24, 2019, and registration is now open for the event. For more information head to greatsmokymountainjeepinvasion.com. This is an event you don’t want to miss!