Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival (MAOF) is around the corner (August 8-11) and we here at TAL, are getting excited. I get to attend a lot of expos and festivals, and MAOF is one of the few that really gets me excited. Unlike a lot of other festivals and expos, Main Line Overland (the creator and organizer of MAOF) put a lot of emphasis on camaraderie and attendee experiences. Sure, there’s a vendor area where you can shake hands with business owners and purchase items at a good discounted price, but where this event really shines is in the attendee engagement, activities, and training seminars. I recently got to chat about the festival with Main Line Overland, and Ron Harrington II of Ridgeback Guide Service, who is responsible for the challenge course and MAOF Trophy Challenge competition. Based on our correspondence, I’m excited to share that it sounds like we are in for a great event this year.
The setting for this three and a half day festival is the beautiful Henwood Farm in the heart of Amish country, Huntingdon Pennsylvania. The camping is first come first serve, and overlooks the vendor and training area. It’s a truly beautiful setting, and a great spot to sit with some friends at the end of each day and watch the sunset with a beverage. The vendor area is spread out and casual and the main tent, where most of the training seminars occur, offers a bit of shade if the temperatures begin to rise. There is a perimeter trail that circles the property with a few obstacles and bypasses to have some fun on. The Ridgeback Guide Service Challenge Course offers an opportunity to test your skills in a somewhat controlled environment, and of course, there is also Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Parks nearby for some day time exploring off site.
I got a chance to catch up with Ron Harrington II of Ridgeback Guide Service (pictured right) about what to expect and what to look forward to. He is a long time attendee of MAOF and the creator of the Ridgeback Guide Service Challenge course. The festival is held during the Perseid Meteor shower every year. he farm is set perfectly in the middle of Amish country where attendees can enjoy the spectacle with no light pollution. The focus of the event is clearly on the attendee as they offer many classes and round tables about everything Overland; from maps and vehicle platforms, to drone photography and night sky discussions with Astronomer Ted Williams. Other activities include the on property trail rides, exploring the neighboring State parks and, off road training classes by Overland Experts and the Ridgeback Challenge course. Click here for full event schedule.
During the evenings enjoy activities like the Vendor Hour with flash deals and a Happy Hour to hang out and get to know your fellow Overlanders. Also during happy hour is the Ridgeback Guide Service MAOF Trophy Challenge. The competition takes place on the challenge course and is designed to test the abilities of both beginner and experienced overlanders alike. Ron had this to say about the course, “I designed the course last year with the idea of technical driving in mind. You had to drive the course and touch as many obstacles/rocks as you could with your tires. I have some new ideas for the course this year with a few other side challenges for the beginner and veteran Overlanders.”
What makes MAOF special?
It’s certainly not the largest festival or expo out there, but it’s more intimate setting contributes a great deal to the personal nature of the weekend’s activities. It’s really easy to get lost in the fray at the much larger festivals, and be overwhelmed by the sheer physical size and layout of large/spread out venues. There’s certainly nothing wrong with big expos. We love those too. But I tend to gravitate toward the more personal festivals for the attendee interactions, and that’s the beauty of MAOF. “One of the best parts of MAOF is the late night fun with some of the veteran overlanders. There will be gatherings of people discussing everything overland and telling stories of their adventures from the previous year. This is where you get the real inside scoop on Overland travel; not to be missed.” – Ron Harrington II
I reached out to Main Line Overland to find out what they have in store for us at MAOF this year and they graciously responded with some really great details and recommendations.
From MLO –
“This year’s Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival is going to be bigger than ever, we have brand new guests and classes.
We’re excited to have our client and special guests, Mak and Owen, aka Bound For Nowhere, at this year’s festival. This couple quit their jobs and sold their house so they could pursue their dream of living on the road. They’ve been living and working from their Toyota Tundra with a Four Wheel Camper for three years now. They will be hosting a class covering things they’ve learned over the years and advice for living full time on the road.
We have Gear Patrol doing a panel discussion on what’s new in Overlanding vehicles and travel. Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to have their rigs photographed by a Gear Patrol photographer on Saturday.
The festival is also a great place for customers to get build ideas for their rigs. We have ARB and Dobinsons running classes showcasing their suspension systems. We have Dometic talking about mobile refrigeration and how to power setups with dual batteries and solar systems. Guests will also be able to check out rooftop tent options from iKamper and CVT Tents.
We’re super stoked to have Solid Performance a premier KTM dealer and speed shop at the festival this year. They specialize in suspension and chassis tuning to get the most out of your KTM motorcycle. They will be hosting a class on adventure travel by motorcycle giving tips and strategies to make your dream trip happen. We will also have grass flat track set up for the adventure bike enthusiasts. “
Thanks to Ron Harrington II for chatting with us and supplying the photos for this article. Be sure to check out Ridgeback Guide Service for details on what Ron has going on in Vermont.
And Special Thanks to Main Line Overland for taking some time to give is the inside scoop about the upcoming Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival.
For more details on Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival click here.