RV dealers and enthusiasts from all over British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley are gearing up for a humdinger of an anniversary at Heritage Park this week.
The 10th Annual Chilliwack Humdinger RV Sale & Show rolls into town Thursday (March 17), and organizers expect more than 10,000 people to take in the show’s 10th anniversary edition, the Chilliwack Times reported.
“It’s exciting,” said show director Joan Jackson.
With 150,000 square feet of exhibits, the Humdinger is British Columbia’s largest indoor RV show and gives window shoppers and hardcore RVers alike a chance to peruse all the latest models and accessories without having to brave the elements.
This year’s event will feature 12 Lower Mainland dealers as well as 45 small booth vendors.
Along with checking out a dizzying array of brands and floor plans (ranging from fold-down tent trailers to luxurious motorhomes and park models) RV enthusiasts at the show can take in informative seminars on everything from trip planning and leak detection to propane safety and driving tips.
New this year is an RCMP seat-belt safety demonstration featuring a mock-up of an RV with unseatbelted dummies inside.
“They’re going to roll it, and the dummies are going to come flying out,” said Jackson.
“Sometimes when people are in a big RV, they don’t feel like they need the safety of a seatbelt.”
Other new seminars this year include one on advanced RV maintenance and another on basic RV driving tips.
“We went a little more technical this year,” said Jackson of the seminar lineup.
Between talks, local folk musician Evans Palmer, comedy magician Rod Boss, children’s entertainer Ish da Fish and local barbershop quartet Pick A Part will be on hand to entertain the troops with walk-around entertainment.
Visitors will also have a chance to win draw prizes including everything from lawn chairs and doormats to resort accommodations and an e-bike donated by Pacific Coast Van and RV.
Based on recent RV shows in Ontario and Alberta, which boasted 5% to 15% increases in attendance over last year, Jackson (who is also the executive director of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of British Columbia) expects business at the Humdinger to be brisk this year.
Sales for large Class A motorhomes were up by 59% in British Columbia last year, according to RVDA statistics, and sales for travel trailers and fifth-wheels were up 27%.
“In 2009, for the economic time, our dealers did very very well, but certainly 2010 was a rebounding year, and they’re looking forward now to taking off for this year,” said Jackson.
Nor does she see rising gas prices dampening buyers’ enthusiasm for RVs; people are simply planning their routes more carefully, she said.
“Instead of going lookylooing along the way, they’ll go directly to where they’re going to spend the bulk of their holiday.”
And, ultimately, getting away in an RV will still be more economical than a flyaway vacation, said Jackson.
“If the price of gas goes up for us at the pump, it’s going up for the airlines too.”
Travel trailers, fifth-wheels and toy haulers have made up the largest slice of the RV market in recent years, according to Jackson, and, while the models themselves haven’t changed dramatically, accessories have.
Kitchens that pull out the back of trailers for outdoor summer cooking, full-sized appliances, extreme sound systems, gas fireplaces, satellite dishes, king-sized beds — the list goes on and RVers can find it all at the Humdinger.
“That stuff is neat,” said Jackson.