Jeeps will make history in Butler again! In celebration of the 75th birthday of the Bantam Jeep, the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival plans to break its own Guinness World Record as part of the 5th annual event on June 12-14, 2015.
The Guinness World Records Largest Parade of Jeeps will take place on Friday, June 12 with up to 2,500 Jeeps driving from Butler County Community College to downtown Butler. The record-breaking attempt is expected to attract more than 20,000 parade-viewers to the city, much like it did in 2011 during the inaugural Festival when the first record was attained with 1,106 participating Jeeps.
"The Jeep's 75th birthday is the perfect time to attempt to break our record," said Patti Jo Lambert, festival director. "Jeeps owners still can't stop talking about the fun they had making history during the first Festival. We're excited to repeat this special event so we can bring more notoriety to Butler as the birthplace of the Jeep. The parade will be the signature event for the Bantam Jeep's 75th Birthday Bash."
Up to 1,300 of the first Jeeps in the parade will proceed north through the city, followed by 1,200 that will park downtown to begin the popular Jeep Invasion street party. The Jeeps will be parked at the direction of the Rodfathers of Butler who are once again supporting the Festival. The Jeep Invasion features music, food vendors, and the camaraderie of thousands of Jeep enthusiasts and regional residents. Complimentary shuttles will transport the occupants of the first Jeeps to the parade and Jeep Invasion from parking lots on the outskirts of the city.
"We've been planning this event for several months and have many details already worked out," said Dave Zarnick, Butler Township Commissioner, who along with Butler City Councilman Richard Schontz, is leading the parade planning efforts. "Many meetings have already been held with City and Township Police Departments, the Butler County Sheriff's Office, the mayor of the City of Butler, City of Butler Bureau of Fire, Butler Downtown, Rodfathers of Butler, BC3 and Festival Committee members. We are all working together to make sure this is a fabulous event for all of Butler County and the thousands of Jeep enthusiasts who come here for the Festival."
Like the 2011 parade, Jeeps will travel in the right-hand lane on Route 8 North, with through traffic moved to the left lane and then detoured over the Picklegate Bridge. Traffic detours similar to those typically planned for Downtown events will be implemented. Some Township Roads will also be closed to accommodate the parade.
Planning to meet the regulations to obtain Guinness World Records certification for the parade is also underway. "Guinness has many rules that we must follow in order to set a record," said Jack Cohen, president of the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau and the person responsible for making sure those requirements are met. "The Jeeps must provide specific information when they pre-register for the event, the Parade flow has stipulations and we must document the parade using a variety of witnesses and other evidence," said Cohen.
Jeeps of all models and years are encouraged to pre-register for the parade when online registration becomes available in mid-January. Many other activities are being planned for Bantam Jeep's 75th Birthday Bash. For more details about the 2015 Festival, visit www.bantamjeepfestival.com.