2019 Toledo Jeep Fest

Thousands of Jeeps take over Toledo

Brand dedication and pride are two of the top things that come to mind when you attend Toledo Jeep Fest. We have attended countless Jeep events over the decades, but Toledo Jeep Fest is a uniquely special event. In Toledo, the birthplace of the Willys Jeep (some may argue it is the birthplace of all Jeeps, but we will leave that argument to others), there is a passion for the Jeep brand. The entire city lives, breathes, and bleeds Jeep, and it's not just because Toledo is the headquarters for Jeep; it goes deeper than that. Toledo understands the "Jeep Thing." It doesn't matter which Jeep model you drive. If you sport a seven- or nine-slot grille, you get a Jeep wave—and not just the two-finger acknowledgement but a full-fledged, out-the-window wave. Even the local TV stations embrace the Jeep lifestyle and have Jeep news vehicles. They spotlighted Jeep Fest during their daily news coverage and attended the events associated with Jeep Fest, and we saw some of the best Jeep commercials we've ever seen on local Toledo stations.

Jeep Fest takes over 20 square blocks in downtown Toledo on Saturday and Sunday. The vendors set up in the streets amid the historic and modern architecture, show-'n'-shine Jeeps are parked along the way, and live music and kid zones dot the area, making it a very family-friendly event. When the midday August sun heats things up, attendees can venture over to the air-conditioned SeaGate Convention Centre to walk through the vintage and Jeep concepts display or take a stroll along the river and grab some lunch and a frosty beverage in the food court area.

The event offers more than just the vendor show. On Thursday evening the Glass City Crawlers hosted a Jeep Invasion, and on Friday, just across the state line in Monroe, Michigan, the Monroe Superstore Jeep dealership opened their obstacle course to the public. This year they set a target of 1,800 laps on the course for the afternoon and easily surpassed that number, as several hundred Jeepers played hooky from work to attend.

The fun didn't end when the sun went down. Folks could attend an outdoor concert followed by fireworks, and the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team was in town during Jeep Fest; they even changed their name to the Toledo Mud Crawlers for the weekend and offered Jeep-themed giveaways. Saturday morning kicked off with the Jeep parade. An estimated 1,400 Jeeps of all vintages, shapes, and sizes cruised through downtown to the delight of the crowd, and an estimated 100,000 people visited Toledo during Jeep Fest.

Thank you to event organizer, Jerry Huber; his team; and the city of Toledo, Ohio, for putting on this amazing event. If you would like to attend Toledo Jeep Fest, keep an eye on toledojeepfest.com for dates and information on the next event.

The SeaGate Convention Centre was a great place to cool off during the warm August afternoon. Vintage, rare, and specialty Jeeps, as well as some of Jeep's Gladiator-based concepts, were on display. Jeep memorabilia, toys, and a large fullsize Jeep section drew large crowds throughout the weekend.

"When Wagoneers Roamed the Earth" was an awesome story board display on the history of the Wagoneer from 1963 through 1985. Panels included original vehicle brochures and literature as well as a few beautiful Wagons to drool over.

Why would a 1947 Empire Tractor be on display at a Jeep event? It's powered by the mighty Willys Overland L134 Go Devil Engine!

Nicholas Oxender brought his 1951-era Valentine NC-2 APU. Nicholas purchased this in 2018 and saved it from being scavenged for its engine and other usable parts. This particular NC-2 served on board the USS Guadalcanal (LHP-7) and was in service until 1965.

Jeep Chrysler employees and retirees showed off their other talents (besides designing and building our beloved Jeeps) in a Jeep grille art exhibition. There were over a dozen on display, and we would be proud to have any of them on our wall.

Over 1,400 Jeeps hit the streets of Toledo for the parade on Saturday morning. Jeeps of all sizes and shapes—old and new, shiny and weathered—crept slowly by thousands of folks lining the streets.

The Monroe Superstore has a small off-road obstacle course that they opened up for Toledo Jeep Fest. Hundreds of Jeepers lined up on Friday afternoon to help shatter the target of 1,800 course laps for the day. The dealership even offered folks the opportunity to drive the new Jeep Gladiator around the course. We particularly like the fact that they pulled the doors and top off to show off its true Jeep heritage!