EAST CAMERON TOWNSHIP - "You got a gold mine here."

That was the reaction of Glenda Gau, adventure consultant for Jeep Jamboree USA, when asked Friday night to describe the potential for the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) after enjoying a dinner featuring pulled pork sandwiches at the East Cameron Township Fire Company grounds.

Gau is in charge of this weekend's inaugural Coal Mountain Jeep Jamboree that has attracted more than 200 people and 109 vehicles to the 6,000-acre county-owned property, off Route 125 on the Burnside mountain south of Shamokin.

The event, which is sponsored by the California-based Jeep Jamboree USA and hosted locally by the Northumberland County Planning Department, continues today with trail rides from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., before culminating with a dinner tonight at Masser's Wayside Inn for all participants and trail guides.

"This jamboree, which sold out within 15 hours after it was first advertised, has been a huge success thus far," Gau said. "The meal was excellent and this outdoor setting is beautiful. We are already considering booking another jamboree here next year."

Gau, who resides in Georgetown, Calif., near Sacramento, believes the event will be a "real asset to the community" this year and in the future.

She praised all the participants, trail guides, local organizers and vendors involved in the first-time event.

"The tour guides are all volunteers and many others here this weekend also are volunteering their time because of the love they have for the sport."

After riding the trails for several hours Friday, participants and tour guides enjoyed the meal catered by Chef Jeff's Food Food Food operated by Jeff Krayniak, of Shamokin, and his small group of helpers. The meal consisted of pulled pork sandwiches, corn on the cob, baked beans, coleslaw, rolls, iced tea and lemonade.

Krayniak, who has catered many meals in recent years at various locations, praised his staff for their fine work in accommodating approximately 220 people.

"I was here late Thursday night getting the pulled pork sandwiches ready for this event," he said. "I have a 6,500-pound smoker that students in Mike Bradley's welding shop at the vo-tech school put together for me. All the metal was donated by ACF Industries, where I worked for many years. It really comes in handy for an event like this."

"I'm very pleased with the turnout tonight," Krayniak said. "This is a nice grove over here in East Cameron Township and we've received a lot of compliments about the meal."

Singer/guitar player Tony Chiavaroli and guitarist Randy Pisani, of Elysburg, who are known as Pet Rock, provided entertainment during the dinner.

Kathy Jeremiah, grants manager for the county planning department who serves as co-coordinator of AOAA with planning director Pat Mack, added, "Everybody has had a great time today. We've received many positive comments about the jamboree."