Winnebago WIT Rally in Full Swing This Week
About 1,100 motorhomes rolled into Forest City, Iowa, last weekend and will stay through Friday for the Winnebago Itasca Travelers (WIT) Grand National Rally (GNR). According to the Mason City Globe Gazette, the annual WIT event is a big one on the rally circuit because it’s in the hometown of motorhome manufacturer Winnebago Industries Inc.
And it feels like home, GNR volunteers Bob Dunn of Waterford, Mich., and Nancy Miller of Cape Coral, Fla., said. Dunn said the first-time GNR attendees wear a green button signifying them as such. “A lot of them are intimidated by that, but when they walk in town, people will come up to them and ask how they are doing and say, ‘I’m so glad you are here.’ Everybody here makes you feel so welcome,” Dunn said.
Doug Formanek, WIT general manager, said the rally is a “homecoming for all.” While the rally grounds, located adjacent to Winnebago’s manufacturing complex, is the heart of that homecoming as WIT members from all states gather, Forest City and the Northern Iowa region are part of that reunion, Formanek said.
“They love it here,” Formanek said. “Just this year I had a couple of different people say to me that, ‘We live in Florida and Texas, but you guys have a little bit of heaven here.’ They love the town, they love the area.”
WIT GNR attendees shop in local stores and eat in local restaurants, making a significant impact on the local economy. Miller and other volunteers are preparing for the rally and she encourages those volunteers to go downtown to visit the stores.
As of last Friday, a total of 1,050 motorhomes were registered for the event, said Kelli Harms, Winnebago public relations specialist.
A full week of activities is planned for attendees including music and kids events. Events at the rally are only open to registered attendees. This year’s theme is Hillbilly Jamboree.