Hundreds of “Jeepers” will roll into Ocean Shores this weekend looking to pick up beach trash — and maybe have a little fun while they’re at it.
It’s the third-annual “Clean Shores” event, which began in 2021 as the vision of a sixth-grader and has since grown with the help of the Ocean Shores community. The event begins Friday, May 19, and will continue through Sunday, May 21, celebrating Jeep camaraderie — and all other vehicles, for that matter — and sweeping the shores of garbage.
Event organizer Nicole Koch, whose son, Leo, drummed up the idea for Clean Shores three years ago when tasked with creating a science project encompassing both environment and community, said she expects about 500 Jeeps to participate in this weekend’s festivities, although that number could vary.
“It’s pretty intense,” Koch said. “We collect quite a bit of garbage every year.”
Organizers initially had their sights set on breaking a Guinness World Record for the longest Jeep line — 2,500 cars — but abandoned the prospect when the cost of hiring a Guinness official proved too high.
Still, Koch expects people to show up given that, in the Jeep world, Saturday, May 20 is “Go Topless Day” — when Jeepers celebrate the start of spring by rolling back the tops of their vehicles.
While Saturday will likely be the main draw, the event starts the previous afternoon at 3 p.m. with a gathering at Too Cool Sportswear, 125 W Chance a la Mer, a chance for people to get acquainted with each other and check out the assortment of rigs.
“A lot of people like to just show them off,” Koch said of the Jeeps.
Joe Grgetich of Too Cool Sportswear is also an event organizer, and his shirt shop is printing attire featuring the event’s logo — a Jeep design assembled from the name’s of last year’s participants.
After the initial meeting and a pizza dinner, the rest of the night will be spent at the Oyhut Bay Seaside Village for a family-friendly party and a live music performance from local band Deerswerver.
Local hotels are offering lodging deals for people coming from out of town.
Then on Saturday morning, Jeeps and other participants will begin to assemble in the parking lot behind Oyhut Bay. The official meeting time is 10 a.m. Upon registration, participants will receive a beach bucket with glow sticks, apparel and — in four of the buckets — Mariners tickets.
Koch said Ocean Shores Mayor Jon Martin will be onsite to deliver the rules of the road and the beach.
Launching promptly at 11 a.m. and guided by the Ocean Shores Fire Department, a parade will begin traveling north on Duck Lake Drive, launching in five separate units. After continuing to E Chance A La Mer the parade will move through the roundabout toward the Ocean Shores Convention Center, where, according to Koch, the city will position bleachers for those who want to view the parade.
But the Jeeps won’t dwell there long — there’s work to be done.
After entering the beach at Chance A La Mer, the parade will split up, one peeling right, the other left. Koch said the event received special permission to drive on the section of currently closed beach just south of Chance A La Mer.
Koch said the city will provide trash bags for beach cleaners. Once filled, a tow truck service will be on site to haul them away.
That will continue until 5 p.m., and then it’s time to relax: a celebratory bonfire will commence near the Chance A La Mer approach, highlighted by a beach performance from local band Johnny “the Capo” & the Bad Boys & Friends.
Sunday is the day to get your Jeep dirty in the new playground at Oyhut Bay, a series of dirt mounds and ditches to put the rigs to the test.
After all that playing around, music students from the North Beach School District will be there to help make your Jeep shiny again. A car wash fundraiser, meant to raise money to secure new uniforms for the North Beach High School Band and Ocean Shores Elementary music groups, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in three locations: near the Bank of Pacific, next to Shores Bowl and near the high school.
Contact reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or firstname.lastname@example.org.