4x4 on 4/4: Jeepclipse will take over Jackson Street Pier on 4/4

Soon, area Jeep owners will have the opportunity to participate in a first-of-its-kind event. From 4-8 p.m. April 4, the Sandusky Bay Jeepers club will host “Jeepclipse,” a gathering of Jeep owners to celebrate the total solar eclipse. The Jackson Street Pier in Sandusky is the site, and attendees will enjoy fun, food, and drink. The next total solar eclipse viewable in North America won’t occur again until 2044.

What it is: The Jeepers club eclipse watch event, sponsored by Myers Jeep in Bellevue, is a chance for Jeep owners and the general public to get together and enjoy live music, food, adult beverages, a 50/50 raffle and a “Show & Shine.”

The latter should be no stranger to auto enthusiasts.

“It’s car show,” says Chris Gildenmeister, a Sandusky Bay Jeepers member and event organizer. “The Jeeps will check in early afternoon. Jeepers are kind of like campers: They come in, and they set up. We’ll have different Jeep awards that they can get, like non-Wrangler, best-of-show.”

What to expect: About 95 Jeep owners will be able to purchase Jackson Street Pier passes that allow parking on the pier, entry into the Show & Shine, and a T-shirt and swag bag commemorating the event. Roughly one month out, Gildenmeister says, about 180 Jeep owners were interested in vying for those 95 spots.

The event is open to the public, and there will be plenty of public parking nearby for those who wish to attend but who might not get one of the coveted pier passes (or even own a Jeep). Also, while there aren’t planned kids’ activities, Gildenmeister says, it’s certainly not adults-only.

“All ages are welcome,” she says. “It’s family-friendly.”

Food trucks on site will be Archie’s Pizza and Gram’s Goodies. Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will be donated to a local charity.

Why it’s unique: Sandusky Bay Jeepers got its start in 2019, its origins stemming from a local group of a few Jeep owners who felt a bond and began discussing how to begin a collective with their common interest in mind.

“It’s just a group of us that were sitting in a bar one night and said ‘I wish we had these events.’” Gildenmeister says. “And I said, ‘well, then, why don’t we make a group and do it?’ And so we did it.”

The SBJ Facebook group for which Gildenmeister is an administrator quickly grew into an online community of between 400 and 500 members, with a page that has more than 600 followers total. And it’s a wide and diverse devotion, which, from experience, Gildenmeister expects to be reflected at the Jeepclipse get-together.

“I had a guy once show up with his Jeep to one of our events, and he was 87 years old,” she says. “And I’ve had kids show up in their parents’ Jeep when they’re 16 years old. We get all ages, we get families, we get everybody.”

How to get involved: Jeep owners interested in purchasing a pier pass, or anyone who might consider purchasing event merchandise should visit the Sandusky Bay Jeepers Facebook group page.