WILMINGTON — Plans call for the 2018 Muddy Buddy’s Jeep Jam to move its home base to the Clinton County Fairgrounds.
The move has been announced on the Muddy Buddy’s website, and Clinton County Fair Board President Scot Gerber and Fair Board member Tom Thatcher spoke with county commissioners Monday about the change. For a number of years, the Jeep Jam has been held in Chester Township in Clinton County.
Gerber said his understanding is there will be some off-site venues in addition to the fairgrounds. Paths and an obstacle course for Jeep riding will be created back in the woods that are basically on city property, said Gerber.
Members of Muddy Buddy’s Jeep Wrangler Club, based out of Dayton, are going to do the bulk of that work, clearing the woods enough to create trails and an obstacle course, according to Gerber.
“We’re going to try to maintain all the mud and heavy issues with trails and all of those kinds of things on the back side of the fair[grounds], and then have the display, the vendors, all of that stuff up around the Expo [Hall]. They’re going to have two or three of the [fairground] buildings that they’re going to utilize as well,” Gerber told commissioners.
Clinton County Commissioner Patrick Haley asked whether the Fair Board considered the noise from the event.
Gerber replied yes, adding the Muddy Buddy’s organizers say Jeep Jam is a family event and there won’t be late night riding.
The Fair Board president said it won’t be near as noisy as tractor pulls which take place on the fairgrounds.
There were almost 1,200 Jeeps at last year’s Jeep Jam, Gerber thinks.
Thatcher said Muddy Buddy’s Jeep Wrangler Club members want to keep growing the Jeep Jam.
Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed said he can see why the club would want to make the move. The fairgrounds site adds camping space, has more room for vendors, and everything doesn’t have to be set up in a field with generators.
Thatcher added to Steed’s list by saying the fairgrounds location will increase parking capacity, is easier to enter and exit, and he thinks the convenient location will mean “more foot traffic from town.”
At the same appointment with commissioners, Gerber announced the Fair Board has just begun working on plans for a 2018 fall camp-out on the fairgrounds. A couple men associated with the fairgrounds have experience with fall camp-outs, said Gerber.
Preliminary discussion has mentioned the possibility of “maybe a 10-day period” and offering some entertainment on the weekends.
The Jeep Jam in August and a possible fall camp-out are both viewed as new revenue streams, the Fair Board president said.
Accordingly, one of the Fair Board’s goals for 2018 is to increase and improve the camping grounds on the fairgrounds. Gerber said 30 to 40 camp sites can be added, and existing sites can be improved and upgraded.
The two Fair Board members presented commissioners Monday with an $8,166 check to pay arrearage on capital improvement projects from the past. The Fair Board had been paying $1,000 per month on that debt, but decided to pay it off early after what Gerber called a decent year.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.