Jericho ATV Festival set to go next weekend
July 25, 2015
By: Barbara Tetreault
The Berlin Daily Sun
BERLIN — The premier ATV festival in New England gears up next weekend with an ever-expanding lineup of mud races, demo rides, music, helicopter rides and food to complement miles and miles of superb riding trails. Last year, the festival at Jericho Mountain State Park attracted 4,000 enthusiasts and this year attendance is expected to surge with the event attracting a title sponsor and national recognition. “It’s generating quite a buzz,” said Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Coordinator Paula Kinney, who said she has received calls about the three-day festival from as far away as California. Kinney said all of the local hotels, campgrounds and lodging establishments have been booked for the weekend for months and the chamber is referring calls for lodging to communities outside the Androscoggin Valley.
This year, Progressive Insurance has come aboard as a title sponsor, providing funding as well as added events. Flo’s Road Trip will be setting up at the festival with a poker run, chainsaw carving and a special contest for 10 customers who have Progressive ATV insurance and live within 300 miles of the festival. Progressive will transport its ATV to Berlin and put them up overnight and give them a guided tour of the park from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
ATV World host to attend
The festival is also thrilled to welcome Brian Fisher to this year’s celebration. Fisher, the host of Fisher’s ATV World, which is set to air on NBCSN and Destination America Channel this summer, will be signing autographs, riding the courses and sharing s’mores with fans at Saturday night’s campfire. Fisher is known for seeking out some of the greatest adventure destinations in the world on the seat of an ATV.
Also new this year is a mud pit race between law enforcement officers and firefighters on Sunday and a music festival Saturday night at the Northern Forest Heritage Park.
All four major ATV dealers, Arctic Cat, Yamaha, Can-Am and Polaris, will have ATVs available for free demo rides on Friday and Saturday. Once again, Polaris will unveil its new models publicly for the first time at the festival.
Organized by the chamber and the Androscoggin Valley ATV Club, the festival opens at 8 a.m. on Friday, July 31, with a poker run, mud pit grudge runs, demo rides and an obstacle course all happening at the park. Helicopter rides by CR Helicopter will be available both Friday and Saturday.
While the mud pits, demo rides and trails are all popular components of the festival, Kinney said ATV riders really enjoy the block party that takes place from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, in downtown Berlin. Both Main and Pleasant Streets in the downtown are open only to OHRV traffic during that time.
Sylvia Poulin, of the Berlin Main Street Program, said a beer tent will be set up at Gill’s Park, located on Main Street in downtown Berlin, in conjunction with White Mountain Distributors, and local eateries in the downtown will be serving a variety of food specials. A Shot of JD will provide live music. At 9 p.m., there will be an ATV torch-lit parade through the downtown. “It’s wonderful all these tourists can come and visit our downtown businesses,” said Poulin.
The festival opens at 8 a.m. again on Saturday at the park and the day is packed with activities. The Blessing of the ATVs takes place at 9 a.m. at the welcome center parking lot. The Rev. Kyle Stanton and the Rev. Andrew Nelson of Good Shepherd Parish will perform the blessing. The two priests will then head to the mud pit where they will do a similar blessing and continue their head-to-head competition, racing against each other in the pit. Kinney said the mud pit has been revamped for this year’s festival with many local heavy equipment businesses donating equipment and labor. The elimination heats will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, followed by the finals from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Throughout the day, the New Hampshire ATV Club is hosting an ATV pull competition with a pull show running from noon to 1 p.m. Last year, the Rave X Freestyle Show thrilled the crowd with its array of stunts, and Kinney said the team will be returning this year for one show from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. She said the team is promising flips at 20 feet in the air.
The fee to get into the festival is $10 per person for Friday and Saturday, and Kinney said it is not limited to ATV riders. While vehicle parking is limited at the park, she said the festival has arranged for free bus transportation from designated parking lots to the festival. Kinney noted there are lots of events for everyone and non-ATVers can sign up to try one of the demo ATVs. Concession stands will offer a variety of food and gear.
Saturday in the Park
Saturday evening the focus shifts to the Northern Forest
Heritage Park in Berlin for a barbecue and music festival from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Admission to the park is free. The popular New England band Riot Act will
perform, sponsored by the Berlin City Auto Group.
Brian Fisher will toast s’mores at the fire pit and adult beverages will be available at the beer tent. The festival wraps up Sunday with the ATV pull finals and mud pit grudge runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the park. Admission is free to anyone with a bracelet from Friday or Saturday — otherwise a donation is requested.
A new event is Law Enforcement versus Fire Department Mud Race to benefit the Child Advocacy Center of Coos. The race gets underway at 11 a.m. with the participants competing in uniform. The winners get to hose down the losers. Through the festival, Progressive is sponsoring a free ATV wash by Superior Power Kleen at the White Mountain Ridge Runner Club house at the trail entrance.
Kinney said while the festival helps draw thousands to the valley, many return because of the trails and the hospitality shown by local residents. The Ride the Wilds initiative has opened up more than 1,000 miles of interconnected trails in the county, with more than 80 miles of trails at the park alone.
“They come up here because they love our trails,” said Kinney. “They just feel welcome here,” she added. A schedule of events can be found at www.androscogginvalleychamber.com/jericho-atv-festival.
WMRR Note: Be sure to stop by the WMRR booth at the festival grounds where we'll have 2015-2016 Club Memberships as well as club and warming hut apparel!