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Jericho ATV Festival “A Big Success” for Local Economy

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

On Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11—on what normally would have been a quiet weekend—cars and trucks with ATV trailers packed parking lots along Route 110 in Berlin and filled municipal lots with access to the local ATV trail. The reason: the Can-Am Jericho ATV Festival, a first-time event at Jericho Mountain State Park that brought thousands of ATV enthusiasts to the North Country.

(Photo Credit: Lorna Colquhoun/NH Grand)

(Photo Credit: Lorna Colquhoun/NH Grand)

Roy Duddy, Interim Director of the NH Division of Economic Development, the agency that provided the seed money to develop the event through a federal grant administered locally by the North Country Council, says the event exceeded expectations.

“A crowd of more than 2,000 spectators and ATV and UTV riders and enthusiasts attended the two-day event—a huge turn-out for a new event,” he said. “We’re especially pleased because the Festival is part of a key economic development initiative funded by the State that’s designed to bolster and stabilize the economy of Coos County and establish it as an outdoor recreation center. The event introduced the newest State Park to a wide audience and showcased it as off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) hub for the region.”

Duddy praised the many agencies, organizations and individuals who made the event possible.

“In New Hampshire, we’re really good at bringing together a broad spectrum of stakeholders to push economic development initiatives forward in new and creative ways,” he said. “Here we have a State Park and a festival that can serve as an economic engine for Berlin thanks to the efforts of the local ATV clubs, the Trails Bureau and State Parks staffs, local businesses, and Festival sponsors. We were able to make it a free event—no admission was charged—and to encourage out-of-state riders to come, since any ATV or trail bike that was used only at the event— that is, within Jericho Mountain State Park, the Cross-City Trail and the Success Trail—didn’t need a NH registration during the Festival.”

The biggest draw of the Festival was mud pit competition at what organizers believe is the biggest such manmade “mud bog” in New England. Local ATV clubs ran an obstacle course and poker run competitions, a “romp in the hay,” a fry pan toss, and guided trail rides on the Park’s scenic trails; while the Trails Bureau ran a scavenger hunt and was on hand with information about OHRV use. Riders were able to demo the latest Can-Am ATV models or talk with representatives from local clubs about riding in the area.

For Duddy, the true test of the event was how it impacted local businesses.

Pam Feldhouse, owner of the Cedar Pond Campground in Milan wrote event organizers, “We were full of festival people! We had a great weekend—they all were happy with the festival and everyone is looking forward to next year! We sent people to local establishments throughout the weekend for meals, shopping and essentials like ice and beverages. It certainly filled a weekend we wouldn’t have normally filled.”

Janice Thompson, an attendee from Massachusetts, wrote, “Just wanted to say thanks for a great time yesterday at the ATV Festival. We live in Massachusetts (have an ATV registered in NH) and got my cousins in Vermont to join us at the festival. The trails are beautiful, and despite a bit of rain, a good time was had by all. We spent about five hours there. Hope to see it get bigger and better next year. Congratulations on a job well done and thanks again!”

Duddy says plans are already being formed for next year’s event.

“I understand that the date for the 2011 festival will likely be announced next month,” he said. “There’s such a huge potential here. As we get more people vacationing and riding in Berlin, the outlook for the local economy should improve. I wouldn’t be surprised to see ATV enthusiasts purchasing second homes in the area. All around, it’s a win-win situation.”

Jericho Mountain State Park is open year round 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, except during mud season: April (or loss of continuous snow cover) through May 23. A NH registration is required for all OHRVs except during the Festival. For more information on the Park and the Festival, visit www.JerichoATVFestival.com.