Jeep Invasion canceled but some head to Silver Lake anyway

GOLDEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — After a four-month delay because of COVID-19, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes Jeep Invasion was supposed to start this weekend — but the organizer of the event decided to put it in park this year.

Still, some Jeep owners showed up at Silver Lake.

“It was disappointing. We were really looking forward to it,” John Kinser, who came from Indianapolis to attend the Jeep Invasion, said of the cancellation. “We almost said, ‘Let’s not go,’ but we already paid the money and Lake Michigan’s beautiful this time of year, so we headed on up.”

“I still came out,” Brent Cooper from Toledo, Ohio, added. “I’m going to have fun, whether I blow this thing up or it’s being trailered back after today.”

The event normally sees thousands of Jeeps filing through the dunes along the lakeshore.

“I am not happy about having to officially cancel anything,” Alicia Kolenda, co-owner of Golden Sands Golf Course near Mears, said. “I’m the creative one that’s like, ‘Let’s figure it out! Let’s just try this!’”

It was not a surprise to her that Jeep owners arrived even without the organized event.

“The dunes are still open. Hotels, the restaurants, we’re still open. We’re going to have different things going on as a community, but not necessarily one mass gathering event,” she said.

The weekend was supposed to fill her golf course with about 2,000 Jeeps and bring 5,000 people into the area. But having to postpone all the way to September prevented the event from building as much momentum and shortened the window for temporary employees.

“Having that in the spring really makes it so that we can keep our staff and keep them going before we get really busy in July,” Kolenda said.

At this point, the fifth year of the Jeep Invasion is tentatively planned for May 2021.

“I’m a very hopeful person that we can get past it and keep on moving forward for next time,” Kolenda said.