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Calling all Jeeps: Annual Heritage Festival in August

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BUTLER COUNTY, Pa. — More than one thousand Jeep owners are expected to return to Butler, Pa., on Aug.10-12 for the second annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival. The inaugural event last year attracted more than 1,300 Jeeps from 25 states and nearly 50,000 visitors to the birthplace of the Jeep.

“We were entirely overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of all of the Jeep owners who traveled to Butler last year for our Festival,” said Patti Jo Lambert, event director. “Our intent was to create a fabulous event that celebrated our Jeep heritage and give Jeep enthusiasts an opportunity to admire all of the makes and models of Jeeps that were created since the very first Bantam was produced. Without realizing it at the time, we ended up creating a homecoming for Jeeps.”


The first-ever event was held Aug. 12-14, 2011. It featured a Guinness World Record attempt for the longest Jeep parade as well as opportunities for Jeep owners to show off their vehicles and have fun with them in off-road activities. The historical element of the Jeep was showcased with a WWII Encampment and an exhibit about how the first jeep was born.

Those elements and more will be offered in 2012. New additions this year include:

  • Number of Jeeps that Can Participate Has Been Set

More Jeeps will be able to participate in 2012. A “Maximum Jeep Capacity” has been established for each activity and published on the Festival’s web site so Jeep owners know how many Jeeps can participate. Registration numbers will be updated in the web site’s registration section so everyone knows how much space is available for each activity. Lambert explained that the maximum quantities were determined so that Jeepers know at the outset that registration for various events is limited.

  • Jeep Invasion Features A Street Party, Not A Parade

The Festival will kick-off in Downtown Butler on Friday, Aug. 10, with the Jeep Invasion. The event will feature up to 1,200 Jeeps parked along Butler’s Main Street and side streets. The evening event will have a party atmosphere with DJs, food vendors and thousands of Jeep enthusiasts strolling up and down the streets while admiring all of the Jeeps. Downtown businesses will offer special promotions and activities to welcome attendees. Lambert said the Festival’s Planning Committee has decided to attempt to break their Guinness World Record for the Longest Parade of Jeeps in a future year.

New Activities Expand Festival

Three new events are planned for Saturday night. The Jeep Team Challenge is a great opportunity to watch 50 Jeep owners try their hand at some entertaining driving challenges. Watch drivers navigate while blindfolded, cheer on their reverse driving skills and see which team can make the best impression. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and is expected to be one of the highlights of the 2012 event.

The Mystery Road Rally will give 200 Jeeps the chance to go on a scavenger hunt throughout Butler County. Twelve different routes are being designed with stops at some of the County’s businesses and attractions. Prizes will be awarded to the Jeeps who correctly answer trivia questions and return to the Festival closest to the pre-determined time and mileage.

The Great Pig Out will enable Jeepers to feast on a traditional pig roast with all of the trimmings. The evening will also include music, games and other activities designed to give attendees a chance to meet more Jeep enthusiasts and have fun together.

Another new event for 2012 is Ruff ‘n Tuff. The Sunday-only event is a spin-off of the traditional Show ‘n Shine and will offer Jeepers the chance to compete in some non-traditional categories. Judges will select the Jeep with the Most Mud, Most Tattoos and the Most Extreme, among others. Trophies will be awarded to the winner in each class.

The Festival is inviting dealers and individuals to sell their military antiques/collectibles and used Jeep parts to attendees. “Since so many people really enjoy the military aspect of the Jeep, we’re also planning an area for dealers to sell military antiques and collectibles which will expand the historical components of the event,” said Lambert. “Jeep owners look forward to finding old parts that are difficult to locate so we’re hoping many Jeepers will clean out their garages and rent a space at the Festival to sell their items.”

Registration for booth space will be available on the website in late February.

2011 Favorites Are Back!

Nearly all of the elements of the 2011 Festival will be back to provide Jeepers yet another fantastic experience. The off-road Jeep Playground and On-Site Trails, Show ‘n Shine, Bantam Jeep history exhibit, Moraine Trail Ride, World War II Encampment, How-To Clinics and merchandise vendors will offer attendees and participants even more to see and do.

“We received tremendous feedback about our inaugural event, and we’re excited about all we have planned for this year,” said Lambert. “Many of the new aspects of the event are the direct result of comments we received from last year’s attendees, and we hope everyone will come this year and see how we’re committed to making the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival a truly not-to-miss event.”

Registration Details for Jeeps and Volunteers

Everyone must pre-register online in order to participate with their Jeep or volunteer at the event. Registration is available at Jeeps must have proof of valid liability insurance in order to participate. Rules and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available on the website.

Merchandise vendor registration is also available. Last year’s attendees enjoyed meeting all of the companies that sold a wide-variety of Jeep and other merchandise. Nearly 100 businesses or groups reserved booth space in 2011.

For more information, call 724-234-2291 or email

More resources for Jeep fans:

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