Jericho ATV draws an estimated 6,000 to region
August 3, 2015
By: Barbara Tetreault
The Berlin Daily Sun
– With an estimated 6,000 ATV enthusiasts attending, the 6th annual Jericho ATV
Festival this past weekend was by all measures a huge success. ATV riders came
from all over New England to race through the mud, enjoy a full slate of
activities, and ride the hundreds of miles of ATV trails.
“It was the best so far,” said a tired but elated Paula Kinney, executive coordinator of the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce yesterday. But Kinney also made it clear organizers plan to continue to grow the festival. “It’s going to get better,” she promised. Kinney said reviews of the festival were glowing with many guests promising to come back. She said all the comments she heard were positive.
The three-day festival got underway Friday and wrapped up Sunday at Jericho Mountain State Park.
Chris Gamache, head of the N.H. Bureau of Trails, said he felt the festival went well with attendance up significantly over last year. Gamache said his agency noted a lot of family groups riding and attendees seemed happy to be in the area and riding the trails. Kinney said the chamber also noticed an increase in kids and said next year the chamber will seek to add more kid activities. Gamache said there was a high volume of traffic on the trails and as expected, they will need some maintenance work over the next few weeks. He said Fish and Game reported few major incidents – the vast majority of riders, he said, were well behaved, registered, and enjoying their time in Coos County. “ The event continues to grow and add more features to attract attendance; and many riders commented to us that they have been coming back to the area several times a year now,” he said.
Berlin Main Street Program head Sylvia Poulin said the downtown was jammed with people and ATVs for the block party Friday night. Main and Pleasant Streets in the downtown were closed to regular vehicles and ATVs lined the streets. Most downtown stores stayed open and eateries did a brisk business selling food. A beer tent and music were set up and at dusk, there was an ATV torchlight procession. “The two streets were full everywhere,” Poulin said. She said it is clear as the festival continues to grow, so will the downtown block party. Already, Poulin said additional space is needed for the block party. “We need to have larger space,” she said, adding more volunteers are needed as well.
Saturday’s festivities got underway early with the now traditional ‘Blessing of the ATVs’ by Rev. Kyle Stanton and Rev. Andrew Nelson of Good Shepherd and Holy Family parishes. Then Stanton and Nelson moved to the mud pit to open the day’s races in a rematch of last year’s race between the pair. Once again Nelson left with bragging rights after Stanton’s machine bogged down in the mud and had to be pulled out.
Kinney said the mud pit was a huge hit, revealing that Mike Couch developed a new ‘recipe’ this year that made for a muddy, soupy run. Volunteers had worked extensively over the summer to get the mud pit in prime condition.
Another crowd favorite was the N.H. Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter that did a flyover and then landed at the park Saturday morning and remained there for three hours.
But there were lots of other attractions including an ATV pull show, concession stands, demo rides, and the Rave X Freestyle Show. Brian Fisher, the host of Fisher's ATV World, which is set to air on NBCSN and Destination America Channel this summer, was on hand and then there was Flo’s Road Trip from festival host, Progressive Insurance.
In the evening, the focus moved to the Northern Forest Heritage Park for a barbecue and music festival with the popular band, Riot Act, performing.
The festival wrapped up Sunday with Law Enforcement versus Fire Department Mud Race to benefit the Child Advocacy Center of Coos. The riders raced in full uniform with victory going to the law enforcement team.
WMRR Note: Thanks for supporting our booth at the ATV festival and thanks to our volunteers for making this booth happen!