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North Hills Monthly

Family-Friendly Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival Adds New Attractions

Mar 31, 2016 10:25AM ● By Erica Cebzanov
Photos by Leon Winkowski

Jeep owners from around the country will travel to Butler County—the Jeep’s birthplace—for the sixth annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival June 10-12. Peoples Natural Gas is presenting the event, which will include driving trails, vendors and guest speakers. Aside from downtown Butler’s Jeep Invasion street party, events will occur at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Slippery Rock.

The new Bantam Night Ops Mission will kick off the weekend with drivers and their passengers traveling on a wooded trail at night. Following the sold-out ride, participants will gather around a bonfire to enjoy refreshments.

Additionally, organizers will upgrade the Jeep Playground’s obstacles. “That is definitely a popular activity for spectators. They like watching the Jeeps go through the mud pit because some do get stuck. They also love watching the Jeeps crawl through the rocks,” said Festival Director Patti Jo Lambert.

Once again, military re-enactment groups will travel in Jeeps and other military vehicles to a model World War II encampment. This year, children will test their skills completing an obstacle course similar to those used during World War II training. “We’ll have tires that they will run through and ropes that they will crawl underneath,” said Lambert. “We’ll have uniformed drill sergeants encouraging them to move through the course.” Likewise, the Jeep History Exhibit will display 12 rare Jeeps from the 1950s.

Organizers will add a social-media component to the Mystery Road Rally scavenger hunt in which participants answer questions while traversing routes in Jeeps. “Everybody always talks about how fun it is to do that particular activity with their kids,” said Lambert. “This year, we’ll be asking them to post some pictures, take some selfies and do some hashtagging.”

Last fall, the Festival Planning Committee formed the Friends of the Bantam Jeep Association Inc. nonprofit to transition the festival from the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau which had previously hosted the event. Lambert said: “From the beginning, the tourism bureau agreed to oversee the festival for five years. It was a very real possibility that the event would not continue without the planning committee working together and agreeing to form this new group. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”

A discounted festival package is available for those preregistering online by April 15; general preregistration will end May 8. The festival will also have limited on-site registration. At the gate, spectator tickets for adults will cost $10 and tickets for children 3-12 will cost $3. For more information, visit