Enthusiasts of the annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival will find several new things to do and see during next year’s event.
The festival’s director, Patti Jo Lambert, announced Friday that five new features and the expansion of two existing attractions will be a part of the 2019 festival.
Lambert said the planning committee expects the new features to make the event even more popular to a wider array of people.
“Our participants asked for even more off-road trails, new activities they could do with their Jeep and fun things to do at Cooper’s Lake on Saturday night,” Lambert said. “Their feedback inspired our planning committee to create all of the new activities and obtain additional trail-riding opportunities, so Bantam continues to be one of the top Jeep events in the nation.”
Expanded on-site trails will allow drivers to go off-road on longer trail rides. Two trails for modified Jeeps will double in length and an extreme trail will be enhanced with a rock climb for Jeepers who want to test their vehicles’ ruggedness.
The Jeep Playground Obstacle Course also will be enhanced with more obstacles, and a challenging rock crawl, new dirt features and stair climbs will complement the mud pit.
A new off-site trail near Slippery Rock will be available to Jeeps outfitted with quality all-terrain tires and tow hooks. The trail will accommodate both experienced and novice drivers as bypasses on the trail will allow drivers to go around the more challenging sections.
A State Park Scenic Tour will showcase Moraine State Park and Jennings Environmental Education Center, and will include stops and informative talks at three different spots in the parks.
The Bantam Poker Run will see Jeeps visiting six locations outside of the festival grounds and one location inside the grounds. Prizes will be awarded for best and worst poker hands garnered during the event, which will allow Jeep enthusiasts from outside Butler County to enjoy the scenic rolling hills of the area.
The Bantam Barbee Jeep Race will provide comic relief to festival goers, as adults 18 and older will race through a downhill slalom course at the campground on miniature ride-on Jeeps.
Multiple heats will enable participants to advance to the final race for a cash prize. A Dash for Cash race for losers will give all disqualified drivers a last chance at a cash prize.
Participants must preregister and bring their own ride-on Jeeps.
The new Bantam Festival of Lights will allow Jeep owners to showcase their light packages on Saturday night at the campground.
The free activity will include prizes for most colorful and best use of lights.
Next year’s event will be held June 7-9 at Cooper’s Lake Campground.
Extended festival hours in 2019 will give participants and volunteers more time to peruse vendors and attractions.
While the Jeep activity hours will remain the same, the vendors and attractions — such as the Jeep History exhibit, merchandise and raffle booths, Ride with a Guide, World War II encampment and other features — will open at 10:00 a.m. each day.
Most vendors and attractions will remain open later Saturday and Sunday as well.
More information on the festival is available here.