Toledo Jeep Fest Draws Thousands of Vehicles Near Assembly Plant

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Second Toledo Jeep Fest was a rolling showcase of CJs, JKs, J-series trucks, Cherokees & the new JL Wrangler.

If you Google the words “Jeep club,” you’ll have plenty of options to look into – 178,000,000 results, to be exact. Jeep clubs are everywhere, so finding other people to go wheeling with, no matter which part of the country you’re in, shouldn’t be difficult. Given the popularity of Jeeps and events featuring them, it’s hard to believe that this year marks only the second time that Jeep lovers have come together at the Toledo Jeep Fest.

People came from 27 states and even Canada and Mexico just to show their love for Jeep’s legendary off-road vehicles. Attendance estimates went as high as 60,000 people. According to The Blade, “In 2016, the parade had about 800 Jeeps. This year, organizers cut off registration a few days before the event at 1,300 vehicles, but several hundred last-minute arrivals pumped that number up to about 1,600.”

jk-forum.com 2018 Toledo Jeep Fest

Last weekend, Jeep fans and owners descended upon Toledo, Ohio for the big celebration of all things Jeep. As the above footage from The Blade shows, the parade was a seemingly never-ending flow of Jeep history. Summit Street was filled with a thick stream of Wranglers (including the new JL), CJs, Willys, XJ Cherokees, and J-series pickups. There was even a “Jurassic Park”-style YJ.

jk-forum.com 2018 Toledo Jeep Fest

Mods were prevalent, of course. One of the Wranglers rolling through had not only been converted into a pickup, but also given a loud and hearty diesel power plant.

Vendors had a strong presence at this year’s fest, including Dana. Raffle prizes included a two-year lease on a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and a set of Dana 60 axles.

There’s no question that this year’s Toledo Jeep Fest was a success. The question is: How do organizers top it the next time they hold the event?

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Texas State University, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism from Austin Community College as well. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK-Forum.com and Ford-Trucks.com, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram and Facebook to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

Derek can be contacted at [email protected]

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