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RV Shoppers Heeding the Great Outdoors Call

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March 7, 2011 by   Comments Off on RV Shoppers Heeding the Great Outdoors Call

RVs on display at the Peoria Civic Center

RVs on display at the Peoria Civic Center

Wall to wall motorhomes, travel trailers, boats, golf carts and all-terrain vehicles filled the Peoria Civic Center for the 29th Annual Central Illinois Recreational Show in Peoria, Ill., which concluded on Sunday (March 6), the Peoria Journal Star reported.

“We’re pretty proud of covering the entire umbrella of outdoor shows, and we pride ourselves on being a family show,” said Denny Johnston, show coordinator for Events Ltd. “As the economy has gotten tighter, this business just keeps opening up. A guy doesn’t want to spend all his money at a hotel. He wants to go out with his family and not have to spend a ton of money.”

Johnston says that although he thinks that the economy has led many people to pursue cheaper options for family vacations, another reason behind the high number of people looking for RVs may be for the relationships that develop among people who see each other at campsites in the area.

“Some of these campgrounds that you can go to are like resorts,” Johnston said. “There’s pools and hot tubs and all that you would want. Some people ask, is it a lifestyle? Yes, it’s a lifestyle. If you go to a hotel and you get in the elevator and go up to your room and see another couple, I’d bet you $5 that they don’t say ‘hello’ to you. It’s kind of a throwback to the old ‘take care of your neighbor and watch the kids’ ways. Because of that, they call it the RV community.”

Many of the dealers at the show also spoke about customers wanting to save money by taking vacations without having to pay for everything from hotel bills to restaurants and entertainment.

“People just want to be able to get away for a couple of days,” said Darcy Rigsby of Pontiac RV. “We have seen our business go up despite the increase of gas prices. That wasn’t the case a couple of years ago. Now, people are coming out and getting RVs. The thing is that people are coming in and trading for newer models all the time.”

The appeal of instant escape from life at home seems to be a real draw for people looking at the options at the show.

“Every weekend is a vacation,” said Dave Peddicord of Spring Valley, who is looking to upgrade from an 18-foot motorhome to a 30-foot model. “You can get away from your house and your work and your phone. . . . We’re probably at the campground 38 weekends of the year. It’s a weekend getaway.”

Of course, one big draw for people at the show may just be finally shaking off the winter blues.

“People have spring fever,” Johnston said. “We’re all just ready to get outside.”

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