The 27th Annual Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree, which will bring hundreds of Jeep enthusiasts to the Williamsburg area for some off-road fun, is still happening this week, but it won’t quite look like the Jeep Jamboree events of the past have, due to COVID-19.
“It is going to be completely different than it was,” Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison told the Williamsburg City Council during its regular monthly meeting Monday.
Harrison said that he had planned to cancel the event, which will happen Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but he got a call from Jeep Jamboree organizers last week asking him not to cancel the event and noting that they would bring in extra staff and take care of everything.
There will still be 260 – 270 Jeeps coming to town for the event with over 400 people participating.
Harrison said that one good thing is that the Jeeps typically include people, who are all from the same family households.
All participants will be required to wear masks, and there will be temperature checks.
Registration for the event will be drive-thru and have expanded hours to accommodate everyone.
Ordinarily, there is a big driver’s meeting at the Kentucky Splash Waterpark on Friday morning where local officials are on hand to welcome visitors to town, but Harrison and others won’t be there this year.
Instead, drivers will follow their trail guides to the trails, which are located primarily in rural southern Whitley County and northern Campbell County, Tennessee. Once they arrive at the trail heads, Harrison said that the trail guides will then go over all the rules with participants in their group.
Traditionally there is a big group dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at the Williamsburg Tourism and Convention Center, but those big sit down meals won’t happen this year and the tourism center won’t be utilized at all.
Harrison said that he decided not to cancel the event in part because it would have a major detrimental impact for local businesses.
For instance, Harrison noted that the city’s Kentucky Splash Campground would have to refund quite a bit of money for those, who have already made reservations, in addition to all the hotels that are located in town.
Cancelation would also impact several other local businesses, such as restaurants and gas stations.
Tourism officials have estimated previously that the event contributes $120,000 to the local economy over three days.
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.