TOLEDO (WTVG) - Officials with the Toledo Jeep Fest have announced the 2020 event will be canceled due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement released to 13abc, the Board of Directors unanimously decided to cancel the event, scheduled for August 7-9 in and around downtown Toledo.
"We’ve been tracking actions by the Ohio Governor, along with many other Federal and State Leaders, and they are clearly taking precautionary measures, cancelling events and gatherings of over certain numbers of attendees to keep the public safe," the statement said in part.
Officials said Toledo Jeep Fest will return in 2021 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Jeep in Toledo.
Anyone who has already registered for the parade or purchased a vendor space will have those funds rolled over to participation in the 2021 event.
Jeep Fest started in 2016 as a one-day celebration of the connection between the city and the iconic automobile. After that first event attracted 40,000 people to Toledo, it returned with larger, multi-day events in 2018 and 2019. Those Jeep Fests brought in more than 60,000 people to Toledo and a $5.6 million economic impact in '19.
Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz released a statement to 13abc reacting to the news:
“We know this was a difficult decision because the event is so incredibly popular. Showcasing Jeep, and the iconic Toledo-made Jeep Wrangler, is celebrating a major part of Toledo’s history. COVID-19 has impacted cities across America in many ways — financially, socially, and more. We will help make the 2021 JeepFest successful and the most popular ever.”
Ralph Mahalak Jr., owner of Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM Superstore, said he is disappointed by the Toledo Jeep Fest cancellation, but he plans to come up with a safe one-day event to celebrate Jeep this August.
"We were planning on doing an event on Friday anyway, so maybe we'll still do some sort of event on Saturday, August 1 or Saturday, August 8. So if any of the Jeep lovers out there have some ideas for us, we'd love to hear from them," said Mahalak.