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62 Firms to Display 1,000 RVs at Hersheypark

September 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Hershey Show promo coverThose attending the 42nd Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., that kicks off with ”Trade Days” Monday (Sept. 13) and Tuesday will find a much larger show than last year.

With more than 1 million feet of indoor and outdoor space booked, the show will be 41% larger than last year, said Heather Leach, director of marketing and education for the sponsoring Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA).

”We are feeling pretty good about the way things are shaping up,” Leach told RVBUSINESS.com.

The gates open for consumers on Wednesday with the show completing its run on Sunday. The recovering economy has put the Hershey Show in good stead.

”Last year definitely was not our best year as far as exhibit space, but people came last year and bought RVs,” Leach said. ”We felt pretty good about that and we are optimistic about this year.”

Sixty-two manufacturers represented by 89 dealers will display approximately 1,000 towable and motorized RV at the show, which last year set a record for attendance with 32,033. Many of the manufacturers will be giving consumers their first look at 2011 models.

Included will be 11 recreational park model manufacturers who will display their cottage-like trailers, also known as park models, in a “Park Model Village.”

Advance dealer registration is running about the same as last year, and dealers wishing to attend can register on the spot, Leach noted. In 2009, 1,048 dealer representatives attended.

Marking the RV industry’s 100th anniversary, Al Hesselbart, historian for the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., will give lectures each day on the RV industry’s history in a display that will feature a camper mounted on a 1915 Model T Ford.

Again this year the Hershey Show will serve as a venue for Home & Garden TV (HGTV), which is returning to film its annual special “RV 2011” one of the cable network’s most-watched specials which will air next spring.

Presenters for dealer seminars on Monday and Tuesday include Barb Darkes of McNees, Wallace and Nurick, Don Bray of Northampton Community College and Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association, consultant Gary Bunzer, sales trainer Grayson Schwepfinger, Robert Basha with Auction 123 and consultant Suzanne Mark.

On Tuesday NFL Hall of Fame member Mean Joe Greene will be present to sign autographed merchandise to raise money for PRVCA’s political action fund.

For consumers, RVer John Holod and Walter Cannon of the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF) will conduct seminars along with Mark.

Also present during the show will be the ”Centennial Charlie,” a stuffed bear that has been the RV Centennial mascot that toured the country earlier this year.

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RVIA’s ‘Centennial Charlie’ Making Farewell Tour

June 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Centennial Charlie receives a special escort from RVIA board members Gregg Fore (left) and Bob Olson.

Centennial Charlie receives a special escort from RVIA board members Doug Gaeddert (left) and Bob Olson during the RVIA's Centennial celebration June 7 in Elkhart, Ind.

Centennial Charlie is not done yet. Due to the success of his first tour, the stuffed black bear that toured the U.S. in promotion of the RV Centennial is heading out for more.

As the RV Industry approaches the second half of its Centennial year, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is sending its Official Ambassador of the 2010 RV Centennial – Centennial Charlie – on a farewell tour to RV shows, factories, dealerships and campgrounds, according to a story in the current issue of RVIA Today Express.

The farewell tour will be an encore for Centennial Charlie, who criss-crossed the U.S. on a spring tour titled “The Cross Country Caravan: 100 Days Celebrating 100 years of RVing.” As the official mascot of the RV Centennial, Charlie’s honors the people who love RVing and the workers who are the heart and soul of the RV industry.

“On his spring tour, Charlie wowed ‘em,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer. “He was a major attraction at shows and dealerships and he was a morale booster when visiting manufacturer and supplier plants. He’s a fun guy. I’m sure he’ll be equally popular on his farewell tour and we encourage those who missed him the first time around to join in on the Centennial fun by hosting Charlie this summer and fall.”

Charlie will have one last go around, keeping the Centennial spirit alive. RV companies and consumer shows participating in Charlie’s Farewell Centennial Tour will host the 2010 RV Centennial mascot for a few days before sending him on to his next stop.

Show promoters and RV industry companies interested in hosting Centennial Charlie should contact Bill Baker at RVIA at bbaker@rvia.org or (703) 620-6003 ext. 331. To check out the highlights of Charlie’s initial Cross Country Caravan, click on the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUTp47J2ABQ

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Charlie Wraps Up Centennial Promotion Tour

May 18, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Centennial Charlie listens to some pearls of wisdom from U.S. Rep. Peter DeFaio, D-Ore.

Centennial Charlie listens to some pearls of wisdom from U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

Centennial Charlie, the popular official ambassador of the 2010 RV Centennial, recently wrapped up a cross-country tour that took him to RV plants, consumer shows and RV dealerships in 19 states across the country.

But Centennial Charlie’s time in the spotlight is not over, as he will next appear as the star of an amusing video co-starring the RV industry employees, consumers, and friends he met on his goodwill tour. The video will be shown during the one-hour program that is a centerpiece of the RV Centennial Celebration, set for June 7 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind. according to a news release from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

Centennial Charlie, who is inspired by the bear in Go RVing’s 2010 “Ambassadors of Affordability” ad campaign, proved to be very busy at consumer RV shows this spring, according to show promoters. Dianne Seymour of Affinity Group said, “Centennial Charlie visited the Colorado RV, Sports, and Boat Show in March. He went white water rafting, rode a Boss Hoss motorcycle, enjoyed fishing, boating, four-wheeling, camping and sightseeing. He had a great visit in Colorado and we were honored to have him at our show.”

Charlie was also very busy during his visits to RV manufacturers, suppliers and dealers this spring. “Charlie had a great time visiting Winnebago Industries’ plant in Forest City,” said Sheila Davis, Winnebago’s public relations manager. “He helped build a motorhome from start to finish, welding the chassis, putting the floor in, helping install a roof, lowering a slideout room into place, and sewing seat covers! Charlie also attended the Forest City community celebration, where he was very popular with local pre-school kids who read bear stories with him.”

While visiting Little Dealer, Little Prices in Phoenix this April, Charlie pitched in around the dealership, working as a salesperson, an RV technician and a parts specialist. “He even operated a forklift!” said owner Debbie Brunoforte. She added, “Although the customers thought he was cute, I heard some salespeople were miffed when he ate all the doughnuts before the sales meeting even started.”RVIA_Centennial

Charlie spent a few days visiting members of Congress in the nation’s capital, and proved to be popular on both sides of the aisle.

“Centennial Charlie spent a whirlwind week meeting with key members of Congress and learning the ‘bear’ essentials of how things get done inside the beltway,” said RVIA Vice President of Government Affairs Dianne Farrell. “In addition to his largely ceremonial role as ambassador for the RV Centennial, Charlie was quite an effective lobbyist promoting House and Senate Resolutions designating June 2010 as RV Centennial Celebration month.”

Farrell reported that Centennial Charlie met with Minority Leader Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., as well as representatives from the Indiana delegation, including Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republicans Dan Burton and Mike Pence.

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‘Centennial Charlie’ to Visit FTCA May 17

May 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

"Centennial Charlie" with u.S. Rep. DeFazio on a recent visit to Washington, D.C.

"Centennial Charlie" with U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio on a recent visit to Washington, D.C.

As America’s RV industry revs up for a year’s worth of celebrations in recognition of its 2010 centennial, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is sending the Official Ambassador of the 2010 RV Centennial – a 34-inch American black bear stuffed animal named Centennial Charlie – on a road trip to honor the people who love RVing and the workers who are the heart and soul of the RV industry.

FTCA Inc. – the manufacturer of Coleman camping trailers – will host the 2010 RV Centennial mascot during the week of May 17 in Somerset, Pa., before sending him to his next stop on the 100-day tour. Centennial Charlie, who is inspired by the bear in Go RVin’g 2010 Ambassadors of Affordability ad campaign, will bring the industry’s celebrations to RV enthusiasts and RV employees in a fun, unconventional way.

“Since a central theme of the Centennial Celebration is a ‘Salute to RV Workers,’ we wanted to be sure to reach out to those workers with our Centennial Ambassador,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We in the RV industry know that the hard-working men and women on the factory floors, in the offices, and out in the field are the heart and soul of our industry.”

On the occasion of its centennial anniversary, the RV industry will thank and honor its workers, whose commitment to creating quality RV products has helped bring American families closer together for a century.

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Centennial Charlie Embarks on Goodwill Tour

April 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

charlie_logoDuring a time in the nation’s capital when bitter infighting between Democrats and Republicans is at an all-time high, “Centennial Charlie,” the official mascot of the RV Centennial, has embarked on a good-will tour of Capitol Hill offices and has proven to be that rarest of creatures – one who is beloved by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, according to a news release.

“Centennial Charlie has spent a whirlwind week meeting with key members of Congress and learning the ‘bear’ essentials of how things get done inside the beltway,” said Dianne Farrell, vice president of government affairs for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “In addition to his largely ceremonial role as ambassador for the RV Centennial, Charlie was quite an effective lobbyist promoting House and Senate resolutions designating June 2010 as RV Centennial Celebration month.”

RVIA legal counsel is checking on Charlie’s possible lobbying registration requirements.

Farrell also noted that Charlie has brought several intangibles to his D.C. tour, saying, “Centennial Charlie is just what Washington, D.C., needs right now. A big, sweet bear to remind them that what’s really important is the quality time we spend with our family and friends. And that there is no better way to spend that time than RVing in America’s Great Outdoors.”

Centennial Charlie meets with U.S. Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Ore.

Centennial Charlie listens (?) to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., during a fundraiser this week in Washington, D.C.

During his time in the nation’s Capital, Centennial Charlie attended a Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., fundraiser on Tuesday (April 20) and had drinks with Minority Leader Boehner, R-Ohio, Wednesday night at the Capitol Hill Club. Charlie spent time with several members on Thursday, including many members of the Indiana House delegation — Democrat Joe Donnelly  and Republicans Mark Souder, Dan Burton and Mike Pence.

But anonymous sources are reporting that Charlie has been spotted around town on unscheduled visits as well. One D.C. insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “I’m pretty sure I spotted Charlie exiting the Supreme Court.” This fact, combined with Charlie’s quiet, judicial temperament have fueled speculation that he could be President Obama’s next Supreme Court nominee.

A video account of Centennial Charlie’s Cross-Country Caravan will be screened at the RV Centennial Celebration, taking place June 7 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. This is an industry-only event open to those 18 years of age and older. Tickets are required. For tickets email hdang@rvia.org.

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Charlie’s Caravan Kicks Off RV Centennial

February 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Centennial Charlie.JPGAs America’s RV industry revs up for a year’s worth of celebrations in recognition of its 2010 Centennial, RVIA is sending the Official Ambassador of the 2010 RV Centennial – a 34-inch American black bear stuffed animal – on a road trip to honor the people who love RVing and the workers who are the heart and soul of the RV industry.

Starting this month, RV companies and consumer shows participating in “Centennial Charlie’s Cross-Country Caravan” will host the 2010 RV Centennial mascot for a few days before sending him on to his next stop on the 100-day tour. Centennial Charlie, who is inspired by the bear in Go RVing’s 2010 “Ambassadors of Affordability” ad campaign, will bring the industry’s celebrations to RV enthusiasts and RV employees in a fun, unconventional way.

“Since a central theme of the Centennial Celebration is a ‘Salute to RV Workers,’ we wanted to be sure to reach out to those workers with our Centennial Ambassador,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We in the RV industry know that the hard-working men and women on the factory floors, in the offices and out in the field are the heart and soul of our industry.” On the occasion of its centennial anniversary, the RV industry will thank and honor its workers, whose commitment to creating quality RV products has helped bring American families closer together for a century.

During Charlie’s visits, staff of RV companies and consumer shows will take photos of the bear with RV workers and showgoers and, at the conclusion of Charlie’s journey, RVIA will produce a video chronicle of the mascot’s tour including photographs taken on his travels. The video will be shared with the RV industry at its June 7 celebration at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, and later will be posted on YouTube.

RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella said, “When Charlie comes to visit RVIA member companies and consumer shows, he will be our industry’s ambassador in honoring both its workers and enthusiasts, so they too can celebrate the RV Centennial in a novel, exciting way.”

The American Black Bear is native to North America, and resides throughout most of the United States. An American black bear named “Charlie” appeared in the 2006 – 2009 “What Will You Discover? Go RVing” television commercials. An animated American Black Bear appears in the Go RVing “Ambassadors of Affordability” commercials, set to launch Feb. 12.

Show promoters and RV industry companies interested in hosting Centennial Charlie should contact Bernadette Murphy at RVIA at bmurphy@rvia.org or (703) 620-6003 ext. 310.

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