Jeeps roll into Clinton | Local news

CLINTON – East Coast of Iowa Jeeps, Clinton’s first-ever Jeep event, rolls into downtown for three days of events.

The idea for a Jeep event started with Lou Ray, owner of Deja Vu Furniture and Accessories on Fifth Avenue South and a Jeep owner for the past 25 years.

She has been “Jeep ducking,” an odd act that became popular nationwide among Jeep owners a couple of years ago. It involves a Jeep owner placing a small rubber duck on another Jeep owner’s vehicle just to make them smile and brighten their day.

Ray says she’s done this about 200 times so far this year. Around the neck of every duck she has put on someone else’s Jeep is a card advertising the event she organized, called East Coast of Iowa Jeeps.

The plan at first was just to offer a movie, “Jurassic Park,” at Riverview Park, inviting all Jeeps to attend. Ray proposed the idea for Grow Clinton, an organization that promotes the growth of the region’s businesses, works to build community and advocates for long-term economic success. Lesley Webster, Grow Clinton’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director, expanded Ray’s idea into a three-day event.

Sponsored by Citizens First Bank and Wild Rose Casino & Resort, the weekend began on Thursday with a Jeep Show at 6-8 p.m. in the 300 block of Fifth Avenue South as part of Music on the Avenue, featuring the Rod Club car show and music by Brooke Byam.

Afterward at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s opening night, a ticket to the East Coast of Iowa Jeeps event featured a $10 discount on tickets to the theater’s performance.

Friday, June 3rd, Friday finally begins at the Riverview Bandshell at 18.00. This part of the weekend is free to attend. Vendors will be there to provide food and drink while the Midnight Band plays a little bit of everything for the thousands of people expected to attend.

The Saturday, June 4th Jeep Parade from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. will travel through Clinton and Fulton, Illinois before the Jeep drivers take off on a 60-plus mile route at noon. Ray says they’ll basically make a big loop around Clinton County, going through town toward Wide River Winery, where they’ll make their first stop for a glass of wine or a non-alcoholic beverage if desired. They then take the scenic country roads that lead to Charlotte for their second stop and come back to Clinton to the Legends Sports Bar, where everyone was able to dine in the evening.

Maps will be provided for anyone interested in breaking away from the group for “side quests” that lead to other parts of Clinton worth exploring.

Once dark on Saturday night, the community “Jeep-In” movie, Jurassic Park, begins at Riverview Park. Whether moviegoers bring their Jeeps, other types of vehicles, or lawn chairs instead of any vehicles at all, all are welcome. Advance online registration is encouraged. Debit or credit cards can be used to pay online, but attendees can also pay for their ticket that night at the gate with exact cash.

Registration for the movie alone is $10 per car with a maximum of eight people or $5 per person on foot. Registration for the entire weekend, including the movie, is $20.

On Wednesday morning, 20 people had signed up for the weekend. However, Ray has been told that a lot more people and jeeps will be there.

“I have a Jeep, so I like to go to Jeep events elsewhere,” she says. “They are funny.”

They are also very expensive to organize. The film in the park costs about $1,000, which is all Ray hopes to make from the weekend since this will be its first year. Referring to the entire weekend, she says, “I’m sure it’s going to be a loss.”

However, Ray and Webster expect the event to draw more and more people and Jeeps each year. Webster envisions the number of Jeeps reaching 150, which would then cause the event to have a significant positive economic impact on Clinton, especially downtown. That’s partly Ray’s motivation for creating the event.

“I think the ultimate goal is to bring more people into town,” she says. “The end game is to overall help promote Clinton.”

Chris Streets, general manager of the Mac 94.7 FM radio station, has been promoting Iowa Jeeps on the East Coast, but he also designed t-shirts that will be available for purchase throughout the weekend. Depicting a Jeep logo, the shirts read “Jeep Rally 2022” or, referring to open-topped Jeeps, “Topless in Clinton.”

To register for the Jeep Rally, go to https://visitclintoniowa-ticketspice.com/east-coast-iowa-jeeps. For tickets to the movie in the park, go to https://visitclintoniowa-ticketspice.com/community-movie-presented-by-east-coast-iowa-jeeps.

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