JeepFest 2013 was big, but organizers say this year will be even bigger.
Plans call for only minor changes to the successful fall event.
Online registration for Pickens County Sheriff’s JeepFest has only been open about a week, but already over 380 Jeep enthusiasts have signed up for the September event that has grown significantly since it began.
“From what we are seeing on social media and feedback we are hearing our belief is that [JeepFest] will double
in size as far as participants and spectators are concerned,” said Pickens County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Reynolds, who is heading up organization efforts this year.
JeepFest 2013 saw 499 preregistrations and about 500 Jeep enthusiasts who registered the day of the event, totalling about 1,000 participants.
Progress coverage from JeepFest 2012 showed about 400 total registrants that year.
“We want this to grow because this is a fundraiser,” Reynolds said. “The money we raise goes to support the youth at the [Georgia] Sheriff’s Youth Homes and charities here in Pickens County. We are expecting between 1,500 and 2,000 this year.”
JeepFest 2012 grossed $50,000, with JeepFest 2013 grossing nearly $100,000.
JeepFest fundraising efforts support the Sheriff’s Foundation of Pickens County, which provides assistance to residents who have been impacted by disaster, tragedy or misfortune and to invest in future generations of Pickens County citizens.
Additional funding from JeepFest is available for local non-profits.
Reynolds said a new online registration program implemented this year that allows participants to register for specific trail rides is taking a lot of headache out of the process for both organizers and participants.
Most of the trails and events from last year are returning again, with a few minor changes.
“It’s nothing major, and the average person won’t realize it,” said Reynolds, who noted that trails may be added, and that the Friday night welcome event and reception will be moved from Rocco’s on Highway 515 to downtown Jasper.
“We are going to have the Show N’ Shine that Friday in Jasper, with music and people can bring their Jeeps and walk around downtown,” Reynolds said. “The mayor is really getting behind this and is taking an active role in assisting the sheriff’s office.”
Reynolds said JeepFest’s home base will remain at the field behind Ingles and that to handle an increased crowd the sheriff’s office will ramp up its presence as well.
“We are going to increase the number of volunteers we are going to have,” Reynolds said. “We will get some new volunteers for the trail rides from Jeep clubs and for traffic control. As far as with accommodations, planning will be key for those wanting to stay in hotels in the area.”
You can learn more about the Sheriff’s JeepFest at www.sheriffsjeepfest.com or follow them on Facebook.