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JeepFest roars into town this week


For more information, see the agenda for the event on page 15A or click here or the above image for our complete festival guide. 


Staff reports


By the time readers get this paper, they may already know what’s coming by the number of Jeeps rolling around local streets. JeepFest, the annual off-roading event, officially begins with a night ride Thursday and runs through Sunday afternoon.

The 7th annual event, centered at a Homebase area in Marble Hill, will be very similar to last year’s with a few improvements designed to alleviate traffic problems. 

A couple of changes made to address public traffic through the county over the weekend include:

• The entrance to the Sandy Bottom trails are all off Dragon Drive to alleviate traffic on the portion of Highway 53 in Marble Hill where the entrance has previously been.

• Extensive gravel /water washing stations and manned-response road crews will work to keep mud out of public roads – not an easy task with an event based on driving vehicles through dirt obstacles.

Sheriff Donnie Craig, the originator of the yearly event, said they recognized the problem created by mud in the roads last year. For this year, they consulted with numerous transportation/road maintenance professionals and will go far above what is required to keep the mud at bay.

Despite almost no additional marketing, the event has grown about 10 percent in early registration over last year. This year 1,320 Jeep owners signed up ahead of time to ride the trails and try the obstacles. Last year, a total of 2,200 Jeep owners registered, including both walk-ups during the event and advanced. About half registered early, so if that trend holds, this year will yet again see growth overall.

All events, including a Friday night show-n-shine Jeep show and concert in downtown Jasper, are free to watch and vendors are open at Homebase all weekend.