Frostproof Jeeptoberfest Draws In 4x The Crowds And Jeeps
by James Coulter
What started as a few dozen jeeps and vendors last year has since quadrupled in size. This year’s Frostproof Jeeptoberfest had more than double the crowd, double the jeeps, and double the fun on Saturday.
The Frostproof Jeeptoberfest started last year as a community event, hosted by the Frostproof Chamber of Commerce, to bring people together for their mutual love of four-wheel off-road driving in the great outdoors.
Even with COVID-19 still looming, this year’s event more than doubled in size, with four times the number of jeeps and people turning out for last Saturday’s event on Henderson Field.
“We have so many jeeps here it’s crazy,” said Melody Kinkaid, Director of the Frostproof Chamber. “Last year we did a trial run on the first year to see what people were wanting and looking for. We listened to their needs and opinions and wants and interests. We gave them what they wanted, and we lined the field.”
More than a hundred jeeps parked inside Henderson Field near Lake Reedy in Downtown Frostpoof. So many jeeps turned out for the event that some had to park in the overflow parking across the street. Many of these vehicles proudly flew their American colors, and even sported flags and memorabilia in support of Donald Trump 2020 and Blue Lives Matter.
While some Jeep owners proudly showcased their vehicles on the field, others took off to drive along a nearby off-road trail. Back at the field, attendees perused the food and merchandise vendors, allowed their children to play in the bounce houses, and listened to live music on stage.
Melody Kinkaid was born and raised in Frostproof, having graduated from Frostproof High School in 1992. She’s been involved with the Frostproof Chamber, and recently obtained its Vice President position. She loves being able to host events such as this to draw the community together.
Their growth within the past year has been due to the support they receive from local community businesses, many of whom have contributed with donations and sponsorships. Only through their help has the event grown as large as it has, especially in light of the recent pandemic.
“The purpose of the Jeeptoberfest not only is to give everybody in the community a chance to meet and greet people from all over the state and a fundraiser for the chamber,” she said. “I believe we are over and beyond any expectations right now. It is more than amazing. We are giving the community something to do and somewhere to go.”
While many vehicles were showcased by jeep enthusiasts, some were being promoted by Jeep Dealers like Lake Wales Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. The dealership not only sells Jeep vehicles, but it is one of the few that provides a Jeep proving ground with a Jeep mountain, allowing potential customers to test-drive their vehicles in an off-road simulated-environment.
“So we don’t only talk to people about jeeps,” said Peter Conklin, Commercial Consultant for Lake Wales Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. “We show them what the vehicles can do.”
Conklin loves events such as Frostproof Jeeptoberfest. Not only does it allow him an opportunity to showcase his dealership’s latest models, but also allows him to engage in camaraderie among other Jeep enthusiasts.
“Jeep vehicles are a vehicle that transcends paths,” he said. “[They are] more than just a vehicle on the road with four wheels. It is a lifestyle that brings all sorts of people from across the community. The people, they are awesome, and you get to meet different people and different backgrounds.”
As for this year’s event, it has more than exceeded his initial expectations: “With COVID-19 being as serious as it is, I have seen people doing social distancing and it is a little bit of a break. It is nice to have everybody outdoors where everyone can come together and see what is going on.”
Other vendors participating this year included Bang Energy, an energy drink company that sells drinks of many flavors like Rainbow Unicorn. They attend events such as this to allow people to try their drinks before they buy. They also loved the synergy between their drinks and Jeep vehicles, even sporting a vehicle decked in their logo and colors.
“We were invited because our regular everyday cars are Jeeps,” said Nicole Johnson, field team leader. “Just being surrounded by other jeep lovers
. We are an everyday drink, so anybody doing anything can consume our drink to make their day better.”