Organizers: Mud festival back in March

The Santiam Four-Wheel Drive Association is planning to hold its annual mud festival at a new location, off Highway 228, on March 6.

The association last held a mud festival in 2007. Formerly called the Mountain Mud Festival and Foster Mud Flats, the Mud Fest will feature most of the same event format as in the past.

It also offers more opportunity for the soupy, gooey mud like the Foster lakebed, said club member and volunteer Nancy Frick. From what she has been told, rain or shine, it should have plenty of mud.

The association, a local nonprofit organization, started the event almost 40 years ago as a family event for four-wheelers to participate in their sport, said Frick. That remains the goal today.

The festival was canceled in 2008 after the Berlin Road property where it was held was put up for sale.

Since then, the association has been looking for a new property, Frick said. “We found one out on Highway 228. That’s what we’ve been working on.

“We just enjoy putting it on. People enjoy the mud, and there are not very many mud type events held. It’s just kind of a fun thing we enjoy €“ working together putting it on. We’re all really excited to have a new site and do a new event.”

The club does not want to disclose the property location.

That information will appear on tickets and be available when tickets go on sale, Frick said.

Many festivals require those attending to specify whether they are participants or spectators, she said. The Mud Fest doesn’t do that, one of the things that make it unique.

The event will include a drag strip, progressive mud pit, bog holes, tank traps, room to play in the mud, a concession area, emergency first aid, a vehicle wash area and restrooms.

The event attracts thousands of attendees showing off and testing their vehicles.

The vehicles range from stock and mild to full-out wild, Frick said. Blown big blocks, customized four-wheel drive buggies, cut tires, nitrous, 20 inches of lift, 54-inch tires and everything in between can be admired at the event.

Although no trophies, ribbons, or awards are given to those with the fastest time or most wins, bragging rights are declared just to be challenged at a future event.

The space is smaller than the Berlin Road location, and the festival will have fewer participants. According to the minutes of a Jan. 20 meeting with the Linn County Board of Commissioners, the event will sell 2,500 tickets.

Right now, association members are working on the site, preparing bog holes, the drag strip and other features. The association also is working on a plan with Oregon Department of Transportation for providing access to the property.

The commissioners turned down a proposal to use Northern Drive, which is located several miles from the site, as a staging area, based on the recommendation of County Roadmaster Darrin Lane.

Club member Nathan Hoerauf said the association is working with Oregon Department of Transportation on traffic control. The event will not be staged on the highway and participants will not be allowed to arrive early, he said.

This is a four-wheel drive event only, Frick said. Only four-wheel drive vehicles and four-wheel drive tow vehicles will be allowed to enter the event. No two-wheel drives or semis with tractor trailers will be allowed to enter the event.

With muddy terrain, two-wheel drive vehicles and semis find it difficult to maneuver around the event site without causing problems, congestion and unsafe situations, Frick said. However, all are encouraged to seek out others means and attend the event. There will not be any two-wheel drive parking or trailer parking available the day before the event.

Only persons with authentic 2010 event tickets will be allowed to enter the event. Tickets will be scanned at the event, and replicated tickets will be confiscated. No one will be allowed to block traffic or park on public roads at any time. Therefore, event attendees will not be allowed to congest Highway 228 at any time. No one is allowed to get in line early.

Ticket holders will have access to rule sheets outlining all event rules. However, some of these rules include no alcohol, drugs, weapons, ATVs and fires. Disorderly conduct, vandalism and reckless driving are not permitted.

Event attendees are to stay within event boundaries, wear seatbelts, and show common respect to others. Event vehicles must be washed off prior to leaving the event. Specific vehicle wash areas are available at the event.

All attending the event must sign release forms. To re-enter the event, persons must have a hand stamp and ticket stub. All rules need to be followed to ensure future events. Tickets may be revoked if rules are broken at any time.

Event proceeds are donated to community groups, organizations, and projects.

Mud Fest tickets will be available through Ticketmaster Ticket Outlets for $33 plus handling and will be sold by phone order only. There will be no online or in person ticket sales. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6. They will remain on sale until sold out.

Tickets may go fast. Individuals trying to obtain event tickets are encouraged to call promptly. A limit of three (three) tickets per phone call will be imposed. Please adhere to the posted ticket limits. Those who exceed the ticket limit may have any or all of their orders canceled without notice.

This may include orders associated with the same name, address, credit card number, etc. Tickets are per person, not per vehicle. Children 6 years old or less are free.

For information call the Santiam Four Wheel Drive Information Line at 541-367-7547 or check out the Web site