The Jeeps are coming to downtown Butler
The streets of Butler will be crammed with at least 1,000 Jeeps in the evening on Friday, June 9, with vehicles coming from all corners of the U.S. for the annual Jeep Invasion.
For many Jeep owners, just bringing their vehicles to the birthplace of the Jeep is a badge of honor, according to Jack Cohen, president of the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau.
“They want to experience it,” Cohen said. “There are still a lot of Jeep owners who want to learn more about the vehicles.”
The Jeep Invasion officially begins at 6 p.m. June 9 in downtown Butler, but locals will likely see Jeeps of many shapes, sizes and colors in the hours leading up to the event.
Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival manager Michele Anderson said the invasion sold out of its 1,000 Jeep spots early this year compared to previous years, and the event planners are estimating that about 15,000 people will visit downtown during the invasion.
“We do always have a large portion of new people coming,” Anderson said. “Being around all the people who own a Jeep, they kind of just like to come and experience that atmosphere.”
Anderson said the invasion is a good time for Jeep owners to meet one another, and also for people to check out how each vehicle has been decorated or decked out. While Jeep owners have the chance to participate in events throughout the weekend, Anderson said the invasion is open everybody, and is typically a relaxed time for all.
“It’s kind of the camaraderie of the Jeep lifestyle,” she said. “It's one of our key activities that everyone looks forward to every year.”
Jeeps will line Main Street and the surrounding streets during the invasion. Anderson said Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival staff members and volunteers will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets, as well as ducks for Saturday’s Duck Dash during the invasion.
Cohen also said many, if not all, of the downtown businesses have special promotions or stay open later to entertain locals and out-of-towners.
Cohen said the invasion is a great time to show off what Butler has to offer, because it brings history, fun and commerce together in one event.
“It makes an economic impact in the millions,” Cohen said. “They come here probably Friday, and we get a ton of two-night stays. They’ve all got to eat, they’ve all got to buy gas and go shopping, because they always do.
“It's a big boost for our economy.”