Chamber exec Paula Kinney.jpg

Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Paula Kinney is seen at a Wingzilla event. (FILE PHOTO)

BERLIN — The Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce is stepping aside from the Jericho ATV Festival and will no longer be involved in organizing and managing the popular event with the Androscoggin Valley ATV Club.

The chamber said it is stepping aside from the festival “to focus our energies on continued marketing and promotion of all recreational opportunities in the region, to include assuring sustainable growth that comes with OHRV tourism, which has proven to be a major component of our new economy.”

The chamber said it was proud to have partnered with the club and the many local groups that worked to bring the festival to an “unimaginable level of success” and to create a national reputation for OHRV recreation in the Androscoggin Valley. That recognition lead Polaris to partner with the chamber in hosting two of its Camp RZR festivals here in Berlin.

“We can say with great pride and confidence, we put our area on the map as arguably the top destination for OHRV enthusiasts,” the chamber said in a statement.

While the chamber is stepping away from the Jericho ATV Festival, it will continue its other signature events — Wingzilla and Riverfire this fall. Wingzilla/Ribzilla is scheduled for Sept. 11, followed by RiverFire on Oct. 16.

The chamber said it will also continue to focus on its marketing initiative, “Your Adventure Starts Here,” highlighting the wide range of activities available in the valley, including hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, ATVing and much more in the great outdoors. The chamber plans to work closely with the state Department of Tourism and will apply for matching promotional funding for its marketing efforts.

The two organizations decided in January not to hold the Jericho ATV Festival again this year because of the uncertainty created by COVID-19.

While there will be no Jericho ATV Festival this July, the Androscoggin Valley ATV Club has decided to hold an alternate event in hopes of attracting some ATV riders and keeping the date open for future Jericho ATV Festivals.

The Jericho Valley ATV Invasion is scheduled for July 30 and 31 at the Jericho Family Gateway Campground on Route 110. Steve Clorite, who is managing the event for the club, said the group decided to hold an alternate event because it wanted to maintain continuity.

If there was no event to attract riders and ATV dealers this July, he said the club feared it would not be able to regain the riders and dealers in 2022.

In particular, Clorite said the club wanted to maintain its place in the schedule for the various ATV manufacturers. He said the plan is to hold the Jericho Festival in July 2022.

Clorite said the chamber and club have worked together on the festival for most of its 10 years and it has really grown in that time.

“I see it as a personal loss,” he said, of the chamber’s decision to step away.

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