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Jeep Fest drives up business in downtown Toledo

The 2022 Jeep Fest doesn't just bring in Jeeps. Organizers say it brings in big business to the community. Last year brought over $6 million for the economy.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Back in 2016, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, a former Jeep worker, along with his Jeep Plant co-workers, were looking for a way to celebrate the iconic vehicle's 75th Anniversary, so they created the Jeep Fest

Since that wildly successful first year, the all-things-Jeep festival has brought in millions of dollars to the city.

"Last year the economic impact for the one weekend was about $6.5 million in one weekend," said Gerken. "That's not a bad shot to celebrate our own local party."

The organizers wanted to hold the event in Toledo because it is the home of the Jeep, but chairman Jerry Huber says it's not just about the car.

"It's about Jeep, but it's also about the people that contribute and have built Jeeps over the years. Not just the people in the plant but the people in the community that support it in so many other ways," said Huber.

For the first time, base camp was held at Middlegrounds Metropark. New activities were also added at the Imagination Station. 

Vendors stretched all the way down Summit Street on Saturday.

The newly revamped Hilton Hotel experienced its first Jeep Fest and Huber said it looked like business there was doing well.

"We have a brand new hotel that just opened up a couple of months ago, and I walked by their a couple of times and it looks like the restaurants and bars are full," said Huber.

Gerken said the event is all about Toledo and they are happy to show it off in the Glass City Convention Centre which had a new look to it before its official debut in September.

The last day of the festival is Sunday and it will include a 4-mile run.

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