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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Third annual Topsail Island Jeep Week will feature obstacle course, ‘Jeep Crawl’ to beach

The third annual Topsail Island Jeep Week is expected to draw 140 to 150 Jeeps this weekend. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy BmoreCostello Photography)
Jeeps gathered on the south end of Topsail Island for the 2017 Topsail Island Jeep Week. In 2018, the event was canceled due to damages caused by Hurricane Florence. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy BmoreCostello Photography)

SURF CITY — While the north end of Freeman Park draws huge numbers of Jeeps every spring — 982 showed up last May for the Carolina Beach Go Topless Day — a similar, more niche event is taking shape in Topsail Island every third week of September.

The third annual Topsail Island Jeep Week will kick off this Thursday through Sunday, expected to draw at least 140 Jeeps to the island as the island’s busy summer tourism season winds down.

It all started when a local businessman mentioned the huge number of Jeeps found all over the U.S. southeastern coast, and how many of those make their way to Topsail Island every summer. He suggested hosting an event to draw in “Jeepers” during the offseason to help create revenue for local businesses.

RELATED: Carolina Beach Jeep ‘Go Topless Day’ looks to top last year’s record showing

In September 2016, the Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the first ever Topsail Island Jeep Week, drawing 82 Jeeps for the inaugural event. Three years later, the number of registrants is approaching 140 with a cap at 150, according to chamber member and event organizer Kevin Yow.

“We want to make ours more of a niche event,” Yow said. “It’s not all about the numbers, how many show up. The driving force behind the idea was to give our businesses more business in the offseason. Everyone starts going home this time of the year.”

He also said they want to limit the number of vehicles driving on the beaches of the north and south ends of the island.

“We don’t want to damage our beaches,” Yow said.

The four-day event features a Jeep Crawl on Saturday, September 21, when Jeeps will line up at Surf City Elementary School before parading through Surf City, across the new bridge, and south to Topsail Beach before entering the beach at the Drum Avenue access — all under escort by the Surf City Police Department.

An afternoon Beach Bash will be followed up by various after-parties — 3 p.m. at Trailer Bar in Surf City, 5 p.m. at VFW Post 9983 in Holly Ridge, and at 7:30 p.m., two parties at Brass Pelican and Trailer Bar back in Surf City. (View a complete schedule of the 4-day event here.)

On Sunday beginning at 11 a.m., three different waves of Jeeps (each based on tire size) will enter an obstacle course set up near VFW Post 9983, built by Yow himself.

The third annual Topsail Island Jeep Week is expected to draw more than 130 jeeps to Surf City and Topsail Beach this weekend. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Kevin Yow)
A flex rail on this year’s obstacle course located near the VFW Post 9983 in Holly Ridge. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Kevin Yow)

“I ran a skid steer three weekends in a row building it,” Yow said.

He said veterans of the VFW had seen Jeeps pass by in previous years and wanted to get involved. This year they’re hosting a pancake breakfast Sunday morning before drivers enter the obstacle course.

An awards ceremony at the VFW will cap off the weekend’s festivities. Yow said awards will include “Most Patriotic, Girliest, Muddiest, and Most Badass.”

Yow said there are plenty of Jeep owners who can vie for the last award.

“We had a guy trailer a Jeep here from Ohio one year,” Yow said. “He had [44-inch tires] on that thing; it was a monster.”

Mark Darrough can be reached at or (970) 413-3815

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