RVers Converge on Louisville for ‘The Rally’
Louisville will be the recreational vehicle capital of the country this weekend, when thousands of RVs descend on the Kentucky Exposition Center for a four-day rally that billed as “the nation’s largest RV event.”
The rally runs Thursday through Sunday and is expected to draw about 15,000 RV enthusiasts from across North America to participate in and watch what organizers describe as “family-friendly activities,” including entertainment, RV seminars, talent contests and events for young people. The activities are open to the public, for a price.
The event also is intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RV industry, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Sue Bray, an official with the Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) of Ventura, Calif., a leisure-industry company that organized the rally, estimated that 2,500 to 3,000 RVs will be parked at the exposition center and at nearby Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium lots. They began arriving Tuesday.
Affinity estimates that the event will have an economic impact of $11 million, making it one of the more lucrative conventions or trade shows held in Louisville this year.
Bray said the Affinity Group annual RV rally was first held in 2000 in Wyoming. It was held previously in Louisville in 2003. It was in Perry, Ga., last year and is planned in Redmond, Ore., in 2011.
People with RVs have the “freedom to travel and have new experiences and to be able to do it in the comfort of your home.”
Among the RV owners in Louisville for the event are John and Paula Reynolds of Rockaway, N.J. He said the couple usually spends three months of the year on the road, taking their RV to rallies, going on camping trips and using it for other leisure travel.
Reynolds, who works as a bus mechanic and driver for a school district, said he enjoys “being able to go where you want to go, when you want to go and how you want to go.”
Reynolds said that he used to travel frequently on business but that he tired of “the mess …. Now I don’t fly any more. I don’t go on trains or buses, unless I absolutely have to. I get in my RV, and we go. I don’t have to wait in line for an airline, or be at a hotel by 6 p.m. And I get to sleep between my own sheets every night.”
Reynolds said driving his RV, a 36-foot long Fleetwood Fiesta Class A, is like driving a bus. He usually tows a car for local driving and brings along a couple of mountain bikes.
The Louisville rally will offer attendees a chance to see the latest in RVs and motorhomes. They can test-drive — and arrange to purchase — vehicles from among the hundreds to be displayed on site. In addition, there will be about 300 booths at a trade show with displays of RV-related products and services.
About 20 vintage RVs will be exhibited, and leisure-industry officials will present more than 150 seminars during the weekend on such topics as healthy cooking on the road, chassis systems, RV trouble-shooting techniques and RV caravan travel.
Evening entertainment will be centered in Freedom Hall. Comic Bob Newhart will be the headliner Thursday night, while Friday night’s concert will feature Tanya Tucker.