BERLIN — Since the first Jericho ATV Festival was held in 2010, the event has grown steadily.
The state hosted that initial festival with seed money provided by a federal grant. More than 2,000 riders turned out for the two-day event, which included a poker run, obstacle course, scavenger run, fry pan toss and the mud pit. One manufacturer brought ATVs and OHRVs for riders to demo.
Contrast that with this year’s event, which is expected to draw over 8,000 riders and includes fireworks, a Downtown Block Party Friday night in Berlin and Saturday’s Concerts in the Park at the Service Credit Union Heritage Park. Five ATV manufacturers will have the latest models available for demo rides and there will be 32 other vendors offering everything from aftermarket parts to jewelry.
Once again, the overall sponsor of the festival is Progressive Insurance.
Androscoggin ATV Club has been part of the festival since the beginning, and in year four, the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce came aboard to help run the event.
The poker run, obstacle course, concession and vendors stands are still ongoing and the mud pit continues to be a main draw. Added in 2013, the Friday night downtown block party is popular as is the torchlit parade.
To help mark the 10th anniversary, the festival has some special attractions this year.
• The festival has attracted a nationally known stunt show to do two performances on both Friday and Saturday. The ATV Big Air Tour show consists of big jumps, backflips, incredible balance acts and will even the launching of a 1,300-pound Polaris RZR.
“This high flying, professional off-road vehicle thrill show will get you on your feet screaming and cheering for more,” states the tour’s website.
The tour features legendary Pro ATV riders John and Derek Guetter. John Guetter landed the world’s first ATV backflip in 2004 and the two have been performing together for 15 years.
There will be 45-minute performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Jericho Mountain State Park. The Mt. Washington Cog Railway is sponsoring the ATV Big Air Show.
• The Saturday Concert in the Park has actually turned into two concerts this year.
Getting things started at Service Credit Union Heritage Park from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. is Berlin musician Tim Dion. A popular local guitarist and vocalist, Dion plays a mix of folk, blues, country and classic rock music, and cites Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young as an influence.
At 7 p.m., the main show will get underway with the band 8084 taking the stage to deliver what is expected to be “one hell of a show” according to Kinney.
Kinney said this is the band’s last performance after more than 25 years in the business. In its lengthy career, the band has performed with such acts as Blue Oyster Cult, Edgar Winter and Aldo Nova all over the Northeast and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. 8084 will bring its career to a close Saturday night and it promises to be an exciting show.
Northway Bank is sponsoring the concert, which is free to festival goers with a wristband. People just attending the concert will be charged $10 per person.
• For the first time ever, the Jericho ATV Festival will end on Saturday night with a spectacular fireworks display. JPI Pyrotechnics, based in Allenstown, bills itself as the finest display fireworks in the state, specializing in computer designed and electronically fired displays.
Chamber Executive Director Paula Kinney said the fireworks will be fired off from Landry’s Farm at 9 p.m. so they can be viewed from the heritage park. Fuel Off-Road and JPI Pyrotechnics are jointly sponsoring the fireworks.