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Hershey Show Shaping Up to Be ‘Biggest Ever’

August 28, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

America's RV Show logoWith just a few weeks remaining before opening, the 46th Annual America’s Largest RV Show at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., already is being billed as “the biggest ever” by event organizers. 

Heather Leach, marketing and education director for the host Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA), told that exhibitor space for the 2014 edition has reached 996,296 square feet, easily surpassing the previous record of 901,291 set in 2008. With more exhibitors still expected, there’s an outside chance the show could reach a million square feet of display space.

“We’re going to get really close,” said Leach, adding that attendance is expected to reach record numbers as well. Figures have climbed steadily over the years, including the last three: 35,507 in 2011, 43,131 in 2012 and 43,506 last year.

America’s Largest RV Show has grown in both numbers and stature. It’s widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier consumer RV shows, and is typically the event at which RV manufacturers will debut new models to the public. 

The show also incorporates both Industry and Public Days to create a true “hybrid show.” Industry Days, Sept. 8-9, provides dealers and manufacturers the opportunity to network and concentrate on building relationships, while the Public Days, Sept. 10-14, allows dealers to sell products to consumers. Also on tap are a variety of RV technician training, service advising clinics and a distributor showcase.

This year, there will be 48 manufacturers displaying more than 1,300 RVs, including 70 demo models. Leach said the total is down slightly from last year due to recent acquisitions and consolidation in the industry. 

Similarly, while the 2013 show featured 185 booth vendors, this year will include 144. Leach explained that vendors bought more booth space than they did previously, noting there’s a waiting list of 100 vendors who would like to be in the show. “It’s a nice problem to have,” she acknowledged.

RVs packed the display area in Hershey at last year's show

RVs packed the display area in Hershey at last year’s show

That demand is why organizers made room for an additional 50 booth vendors outside the Giant Center in the space where the Park Model Village was located last year. The Park Model Village was relocated to a spot near the Saturday ticket gate, which Leach said should be “a benefit to them.”

“It’s been steady growth over the years, which is nice because we’re able to accommodate and manage that growth better,” Leach said, adding that this is the 10th year the show has been at the Giant Center. Prior to that, the event was held at the Farm Show Complex. 

In addition to the first opportunity at seeing next year’s models, the show is popular with consumers for several other reasons, Leach said. It’s set up differently from many other RV shows since it is laid out by manufacturer instead of dealers, making it easy for attendees to shop and compare the many RV brands.

There are also a number of educational seminars, including:

• RV Doctor Gary Bunzer – “Technically Choosing Your RV; 10 RV Facts of Life.”

• RV Adventure Video with John Holod – “Learn about your next RV adventure.”

• Bob Marx – “Full Time and Extended RV Travel & Tips on Choosing an RV.”

• Grass Haven Outdoors (known as the Martha Stewart of RVing) – “Glamp-sites.” 

The Industry Days education format includes:

• Red Carpet Breakfast featuring Olympic gold medalist volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor.

• RV technician training presented from: Lippert Components Inc.; Norcold Inc.; Atwood Mobile Products LLC; Thetford Corp.; Blue Ox; and Cequent Towing Products.

• Distributor showcase by Keller Marine and RV, and NTP Distribution.

• “Profitable Service Advising” by Chuck Marzahn and Gary Motley.

• Building a memorable customer experience-oriented brand.

The annual Industry Party will be 4-6 p.m. Monday at Hersheypark where exhibitors and attendees can enjoy rides, a variety of hors d’oeuvres, Pennsylvania’s own Yuengling Lager and an assortment of wines.

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