The Auto World Museum in Fulton will host the 24th annual fall Willys Jeep Reunion next Friday and Saturday.
The museum will be holding this event for the third straight year, according to reunion organizers. After being held for years at the now-demolished Truman Hotel in Jefferson City, event committee member Jeff Petrowich said they wanted to keep the reunion local.
"We moved it Columbia one year, and we had trouble with the football games. We talked to (Tom Jones) at the museum, and we decided to have it there, and things have worked out great," Petrowich said. "We've had complications in the past with trying to be at hotels with banquets and whatnot."
The two-day event is for Jeep enthusiasts from all over. Petrowich said the event draws people from Texas, Louisiana and, in years past, as far as California.
"So far this year, we have people from 15 different states pre-registered," event founder Art Gloss said.
Gloss and his wife started the event 24 years ago in Wisconsin before relocating to Mid-Missouri. Both Gloss and Petrowich are fans of the close-knit community formed through the event.
"We've made a lot of friends through the years. We have a lot of Jeep vehicles, and I really like all of the people we meet," Gloss said.
Petrowich said the reunion is "little different than a regular jeep show."
"The people who come are like a family," he said.
Petrowich said people begin showing up for the event Thursday, and the rest filter in until Saturday morning. Thursday and Friday evenings are typically spent "wheeling" and off-roading in Potawatomi Offroad Park, east of Fulton.
There will be Jeep shows Friday and Saturday that are open to the public where participants can show off their Jeeps, swap parts or buy items from 11 different vendors on site. A wide variety of Jeeps are on display annually, Petrowich said
"We have every kind of Jeep from totally restored and pristine to unrestored originals," he said.
Gloss said he intends on showcasing his 1945 CJ-2 Fire Jeep at the shows. Capital Chrystler from Jefferson City will also be bringing new models of the Jeep Gladiator and Jeep Wrangler to display.
The reunion is capped off Saturday evening with a banquet for all participants. Food will be provided, and drinks will be catered by 1851 Underground, Gloss said, adding there will be raffle prizes given out.
"Every year we try to make things a little different than before," he said.
Gloss said 35 Jeeps have already pre-registered, but many more will register the day of. Annually, the reunion has about 100 registered, he said.
The event's vehicle registration fee is $15, and the banquet will be $27 for those who register a vehicle and $32 for those who do not. Vehicle registration on site increases to $20.