This week’s 28th Annual Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree will once again be the largest Jeep Jamboree in the United States and the world, according to acting Williamsburg Tourism Director Alvin Sharpe.
About 275 Jeeps, including guides, and about 522 people are registered for this week’s Jeep Jamboree, which will start with registration Thursday evening at the Kentucky Splash waterpark followed by two days of trail rides Friday and Saturday mornings.
“Everything is a go right now,” Sharpe noted.
This year’s event is projected to have over 100 more attendees than last year’s event.
Following the recent death of Oral Lewis, Sharpe said that David’s Steakhouse would take over catering the Thursday, Friday and Saturday night meals.
The meals are traditionally held at the Williamsburg Tourism and Convention Center, but will be picked up to go at the waterpark this year due to the pandemic.
“Everything will be at the waterpark,” Sharpe added.
In addition to getting visitors, who spend money at local hotels, gas stations, campgrounds, restaurants and other locations, Jeep Jamboree also aids some local groups with fundraising opportunities.
The Williamsburg High School cheerleaders and volleyball teams will be doing Jeep washes on Friday and Saturday after the trail rides.
In addition, the Williamsburg High School girls’ basketball team members will be servers at the dinners. Tourism officials have estimated previously that the event contributes $120,000 to the local economy over three days.
Sharpe said that guides and volunteers have been down nearly every weekend for six weeks working on trails in primarily southern Whitley County and northern Campbell County, Tennessee, in an effort to have the 18 different trails ready for the event.
Sharpe said the event usually has several participants, who have been to Williamsburg’s jamboree before, but also several newcomers.
“It is unbelievable the number of people, who come in and bring Jeeps, who have never had them in four-wheel drive. It is an experience for them,” Sharpe said about the newcomers.
Sharpe added that there is a need to find additional land for use for the event as some of the beginner’s trails have become more rugged over time and not suitable for novices anymore.
Jeep Jamboree USA is an organization out of California that conducts jamborees all over the United States. The events usually include Jeep enthusiasts from all over the country turning out for off-roading fun in their four-wheel drives.
You must have a Jeep to participate in the Jeep jamborees. The Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree usually features participants from more than 20 states, and sometimes Canada too.
Approximately 92 percent of all Jeep Jamboree participants attend with a Jeep Wrangler. The majority of Jeep Wranglers in attendance are modified (bigger tires, aftermarket bumpers, winches, etc.)