Hundreds of people were already flooding into the River Run ATV Park Thursday afternoon with campers and ATVs for the four-day Mudstock event scheduled through Sunday.
“People started showing up today at noon. As soon as they get here they start riding,” Town Square Media Director of Event Marketing Marissa T. Diaz said.
The event, which has traditionally been held at Mud Creek Offroad Park, is expected to draw in several thousand people, she said.
Last year, Diaz said approximately 4,500 people showed up.
“We're just expecting a lot of people and a whole lot of fun. We sure would like to have 5,000 to 7,000 people,” park owner Jeff Drost said.
People from across the United States are already trickling in, Diaz said.
“We've got people from Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, everywhere,” she said.
Peggy Renfro with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce said the event has attracted thousands in years past and is a boon to local businesses.
Though Mudstock has traditionally been held at the Mud Creek park, owner Cary Carr said he opted out of it this year for business reasons.
“We opted back in May not to have it at our park this year. It was nothing between us and the radio station. It just wasn't going the direction it wanted to go,” Carr said. “And also, we are adding a ride at our park at the end of this month.”
Carr said Mud Creek will now host the Mud-tober Fest later this month.
Drost said Town Square Media contacted him about eight months ago to negotiate moving Mudstock to River Run.
“We've got about 2000 acres of trail-riding property,” he said.
Drost said preparations for the event required him to clear approximately 75 acres for parking and primitive camping areas.
At Mudstock, there are no speed limits or curfews as participants plunge through the mud-filled ponds.
“People are pretty good though about being careful,” Diaz said.
On Friday, participants can enter the poker run as well as a “Show n' Shine” contest, to “show off how nice and bad-ass your ATV is,” she said.
Also on Friday, singers Curtis Grimes and Roger Creager will perform.
A championship mud racing competition and a buddy run race will take place Saturday.
Bands Westbound 21, Back Seat Molly, and Robert Stowell will perform throughout the day Saturday.