The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival keeps giving Jeep owners more reasons to bring their vehicle home to the birthplace of the Jeep. The 8th annual event will take place at Coopers Lake Campground near Slippery Rock, Pa. on June 8-10 starting at 9 a.m. each day and also in Downtown Butler on June 8 from 6-10 p.m. More than 2,000 Jeep owners from 28 states and Canada are already registered to attend what with their Jeep.
“The Festival is a must-do event that should be on every Jeep owner’s bucket list,” said Patti Jo Lambert, Festival director. “Jeep enthusiasts who experience Bantam consistently tell us they have so much fun and they can’t wait to come back. That’s why we keep offering new things to see and do each and every year.”
New in 2018
Bantam Proving Grounds Jeep Pull: When the American Bantam Car Company created the Bantam Reconnaissance Car, the world’s original jeep, they delivered the vehicle to Camp Holabird near Baltimore. Camp Holabird was the Army’s proving grounds where they tested vehicles to determine if they could handle the rigors of battle. The Bantam Proving Grounds Jeep Pull, powered by Pennzoil, is an opportunity for Jeep owners to prove the strength of their Jeep and also the finesse of their driving skills. Drivers will pull a weighted sled 100 feet and then must stop their Jeep so the front of the sled is located near a specific measuring point in the stopping zone. The Jeep owner who stops the sled closest to the measuring line wins bragging rights and a plaque. One hundred percent of entry fees will be donated to K9s for Warriors and each participant receives a case of Pennzoil oil and a complimentary photo.
Decorate Your Jeep: Jeep owners are passionate about their vehicles, with many owners even giving them a name. The Festival is offering owners a fun way to personalize their Jeeps even more by accessorizing them with all types of decorations. On Friday, June 8 at 1 p.m. the vehicles will be on display and judges will select winners for the Jeeps that are most creative, most patriotic and have the best theme.
Invasion After-Party: After invading Downtown Butler during the popular Jeep Invasion on Friday, June 8, Jeepers are invited to stop by Recon Brewing from 9-11 p.m. The brewery, named after the Bantam Reconnaissance Car, will offer a $1 discount on their BRC beer to guests wearing a Festival wristband all weekend long. The Brewery is located just 4 miles north of Downtown Butler on Route 8.
“Bantam jeopardy”: This twist on one of America’s most popular game shows will offer Jeep-themed categories for contestants. Several games will be played each day, and contestants will be selected via a random drawing just before each game begins.
Bantam Night Ops Mission 2018: This nighttime trail ride on Thursday, June 7 is now available as an a la carte activity. Previously, attendees had to purchase a Night Ops package in order to participate. Now, any Jeep owner who wants to test their driving skills in the dark can enjoy this experience. Bonfires and s’mores will also be offered for participants.
Babes of Bantam: This ladies-only event features instruction by women for women on both a stock trail and a portion of the Jeep Playground obstacle course. It was so popular when it was introduced in 2017 that the event has been expanded to accommodate additional female drivers – 50 will enjoy the experience on Thursday, June 7 and 100 will hit the trail and Jeep Playground on Friday, June 8.
Jeep History Exhibit: The Jeep History exhibit is a not-to-miss part of the Festival. In 2018, it will feature 18 Jeeps from the 1970s. The Faces of Jeep grille exhibit will be expanded with the addition of five grilles from 1970s Jeep models. The grilles will be unveiled on Friday at 1 p.m. The new grilles join a collection of 22 other grilles from 1940-1969 Jeep models that were unveiled at previous Festivals.
Best of Bantam: New in 2018, Best of Bantam participants may enter the competition field via a new gate off Currie Road. The gate will give them direct access to the field during select times, enabling them to avoid high-traffic roads throughout the Festival area.
In addition to these activities, the Festival offers on and off-site trail rides, a Jeep Playground obstacle course featuring a mud pit, Jeep Invasion street party, Mystery Road Rally and other activities. More than 120 companies from across the nation will sell all types of Jeep accessories and other items. In 2017, 2,040 Jeeps from 27 states registered to participate in the Festival, making it one of the largest Jeep-only events in the United States.
If You Go
The Festival takes place at Cooper’s Lake Campground near Slippery Rock, Pa. (an hour north of Pittsburgh) on Friday, June 8 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, June 9 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 10 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. General admission to see vendors, exhibits, attractions and Jeeps in action on the Jeep Playground is $10 for adults and $3 for kids 3-12. The Jeep Invasion is held in Downtown Butler on Friday, June 8 from 6 – 10 p.m. and is free for spectators. Jeeps must be registered.
Jeep owners who wish to participate in activities with their Jeep can still register for those that have open space available. On-site registration will be held at Cooper's Lake Campground and opens at 8 a.m. each day. Details can be found at www.bantamjeepfestival.com. The website also contains detailed information about the event, including videos, photos and more.