Despite less than favorable weather conditions, the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase enjoyed an uptick in attendance and an overall upbeat atmosphere as the group gathered March 17-20 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry.
“We had a real downpour on Monday and then it’s been pretty chilly for Georgia,” FMCA Executive Director Jerry Yeats told RVBUSINESS.com this morning, noting around 6,000 members were on hand while another 2,000 people had passed through the gates. “But everybody truly seems unaffected. We saw a lot of participation in our seminars and tours, and we had a full house for our entertainment last night. The weather didn’t keep anybody down and we are having a great time.”
For the record, FMCA reported a total coach count of 3,002 rigs that included 2,554 “family” coaches. Robbin Gould, editor of Family Motor Coaching Magazine, said that figure topped last year’s event in Gillette, Wyo., which drew 2,639 rigs.
“I think the growth of the event mirrors what’s happening across the board in the industry,” Gould said. “As the industry rebounds, so does participation at our annual reunions.”
It marked the eighth time FMCA has traveled to Perry since 1996. According to Gould, this year’s edition also represented an increase from 2011 – the last time FMCA held the event at the Agricenter – that saw a coach count of 2,970.
“Perry is just a good fit for an FMCA event,” she said. “It’s laid out in such a way that it fills our needs, offering areas for seminars, a lot of indoor space and an outdoor area with plenty of flat, parkable space for displays, and a great venue for evening entertainment. The facilities are outstanding.”
While attendees enjoyed the slate of activities, manufacturers, dealers and supply vendors were also seeing steady traffic, according to Yeatts.
“The indoor displays were packed, in part because of the weather,” he said. “But the outdoor exhibits were also pretty busy. I even saw some sold signs, which is a good indication of a successful show.
“I think we’re seeing that our members are more actively looking for new motorhomes. That’s obviously a reflection of the economic rebound – people are just feeling better. But I think another big factor is that manufacturers are thinking out of the box. There are so many new innovations and gadgets, and it’s a result of the builders listening to the people that use their motorhomes and giving them what they want.”
The Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Ore., will play host to FMCA’s 90th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase Aug. 13-16, representing the fifth time the organization has gathered at the facility.
FMCA Rolls Out Insurance Program
Yeatts told RVBUSINESS.com that the organization also conducted a soft opening for its FMCA RVinsurance, a new program for members, during this week’s showcase.
“It will be a multicarrier, multiagency model that give more choices to the membership,” he said. “It will give them more coverage at better rates. The launch of the insurance program was really member-driven. We are delivering a product that they have been wanting for a long time.”
FMCA members can click here for additional information.
The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), a Cincinnati-based international motorhome owners group, will host its 89th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, set to run March 17-20.
According to a press release, FMCA has made it a goal to give back to the communities it visits for conventions and the group has targeted several charities during the Perry convention, including:
• A chapter of FMCA is scheduled to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build hosted by the Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity Affiliate in Savannah, Ga, from March 23 to April 5. The owners of 12 motorhomes are signed up to take part in this build. FMCA members will be able to make donations for future builds at the Habitat booth located in the FMCA Information Center in Perry. All contributions received will be donated in FMCA’s name to Habitat for Humanity; no administrative fees will be retained by FMCA.
• A group of FMCA members who enjoy quilting have been stitching special gifts to leave behind in Perry. The FMCA On-Road Quilters will donate children’s quilts to a local organization for distribution. Based on past events, it is expected that FMCA members will bring along and donate some 40 to 50 quilts.
• During the convention, used eyeglasses will be donated by FMCA members as a way of supporting the Lions’ Foundation Eyeglass Program, which helps to ensure that needy people are able to enjoy the benefits of vision correction.
• The Professional RV Vendors chapter of FMCA will be collecting nonperishable food items during the convention for donation to the Perry Volunteer Outreach organization.
• Through the Peanut Butter & Jelly Food Drive at the convention, attendees will be asked to donate food items during the event for the Loaves and Fishes group of South Houston County to benefit needy children and their families.
• FMCA will be conducting a “Purses For A Purpose” silent auction during the Family Reunion. These purses will be donated by FMCA family and commercial members, as well as national office staff, and will be loaded with goodies. Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit The Independence Fund, which assists wounded veterans and their families.
Many of FMCA’s more than 450 chapters of motorhome owners support various worthwhile causes year-round. FMCA members participate in a dues “Round Up” program that benefits Habitat for Humanity, KOA Care Camps, ProLiteracy Worldwide, and Good Will-Hinckley, organizations that provide a helping hand to families throughout the country. To date, the association has donated more than $1 million to these organizations.
The owner of an airplane maintenance company has made an 11th hour offer to save the annual RV rally for Florida’s Hernando County.
The Tampa Tribune reported that Bradley Dye, owner of Corporate Jet Solutions at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, said he would make available to the rallygoers his 20,000-square-foot building, adjacent hangar and deluxe generator.
That would provide the rally participants with an indoor venue and space to park their RVs. It would eliminate the need for expensive temporary tents, which had proven the biggest area of contention for the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) in its decision last week to move the 2015 event to the Sarasota Fairgrounds.
Dye said the motor coach association’s president Jim Duncan was interested in the proposal but it was too late to save the rally for 2015 because a one-year agreement was already inked with Sarasota.
But it may be feasible, with more negotiations, to reclaim the rally for 2016 and beyond, Dye said Monday.
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Brooksville, Fla., restaurant owner Mary Smith said there was always one thing she could count on when the dreary and colder days of winter set: The arrival of scores of RV owners.
The Tampa Tribune reported that with the annual Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) RV rally only about 10 minutes away at the airport, handfuls of “regulars” would drive into town and patronize her Mykonos II restaurant.
Over 16 years, these people developed friendships with staff and other RVers and it was truly a family affair, she said.
That’s why Smith was disheartened when she heard the Southeast FMCA board voted to move the rally to Sarasota starting next year.
“I’m genuinely going to miss them,” Smith said. “We always had so much fun when they came.”
It hurts economically and it hurts because emotional attachments are severed, she said.
“We got a little burst (economically) in the middle of winter time that was always appreciated,” Smith said. “It’s kind of sad. It really is. It’s something that we all looked forward to.”
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Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is making final preparations for its 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase, set to take place March 17-20 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry.
According to a press release, the RV-friendly facility is located just off Interstate 75, a prime north-south route for snowbird RVers.
More than 2,500 motorhome families and some 6,000 to 8,000 people are expected to attend. All RV owners and members of the general public are invited to participate.
Various admission options are available for the Perry event. Activities include an RV show that highlights more than 100 display motorhomes, plus booths filled with RV components and accessories, as well as home products; motorhome-related seminars; organized tours of local sites and attractions; evening entertainment; and other social activities.
After the Perry event, it’s on to Redmond, Ore, where the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center will host FMCA’s second Family Reunion of 2014, Aug. 13-16. Registration is under way at FMCA.com.
The Madison, Wis., Family Reunion will take place July 29 to Aug. 1, 2015, at the Alliant Energy Center.
“We had a fantastic event there in August 2011,” said FMCA President Charlie Adcock. “We have been looking forward to returning ever since. The Alliant Energy Center is a terrific host facility, plus Madison and the surrounding area have so much for motorhome families to do and see.”
FMCA first hosted an event at the site back in 1984 when it was known as the Dane County Exposition Center. Various improvements made since then, including the addition of the 225,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall, have added to the appeal of the facility when it comes to accommodating an FMCA event.
The Madison gathering in 2011 drew a total of 2,143 motorhomes to the site. FMCA officials expect an even better turnout in 2015, given renewed interest in the motorhome lifestyle since the end of the recession.
Prior to the Madison confab, FMCA will make a return visit to Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., March 26 to 29, 2015, for the 91st Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase.
The board for the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) decided Tuesday (Jan. 28) to move its annual winter rally from Florida’s Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to the Sarasota County fairgrounds next year.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Tribune, the organization’s president, Jim Duncan, said the decision to leave the airport site after 16 years came down to economics. The lack of permanent facilities for meetings, workshops and entertainment wound up costing the association more than $150,000 for tent and generator rentals, plus other costs this year.
The Sarasota fairgrounds’ offer to the group includes the use of on-site buildings and other facilities for about $35,000.
“We hate having to leave Hernando,” Duncan said. “But we have to face reality and try to get more bang for our bucks. It was clear that wasn’t going to happen here.”
The decision was made at the association’s annual board meeting, traditionally held a couple of days before the winter rally, which is taking place this week at the Hernando airport.
Duncan said that many board members already had come to the conclusion that moving the event was probably the best thing they could do to save it.
The decision, Duncan said, “didn’t happen overnight” and had been in the works since the board threatened last year to move the event to Volusia County. Although officials with Hernando County, the airport and the Hernando County Aviation Authority promised to work with the association by reducing fees, offering to take over maintenance of the site and working to find a more permanent structure to house future events, many of those incentives never got past the talking stages, Duncan said.
“This has been going on for two years,” he said. “(The county) had plenty of opportunity to do something, but all they did was drag their feet.”
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Next week, hundreds of motorized juggernauts will roll into Florida’s Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to take part in the 16th annual RV rally.
The Tampa Tribune reported that on Thursday (Jan. 23), set-up crews were there installing generators and other infrastructure needed to create what amounts to a mini-city that will be home to the out-of-state RV enthusiasts from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2.
This year, there is some apprehension on the county’s part because there is talk that the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) will seek a new site, including one in Volusia County, unless officials here can find a permanent facility to house the many trade shows and attractions for the rally.
The cost of tents and rising costs almost make the event cost-prohibitive, said Jim Duncan, president of the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association,
The FMCA board will meet Tuesday to discuss extending a lease with Hernando County to continue the event.
Duncan said he would love to continue holding the annual RV rally in Brooksville but the final vote will be up to the board.
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Florida’s Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson said he visited the winter dog show at Florida Classic Park east of Brooksville last week and was impressed by the crowds lining up to see canines and their handlers from throughout the nation take part in the annual event.
The Tampa Tribune reported that the show was canceled last year because of a legal dispute, and there was talk of it moving to Marion County.
Nicholson said he doesn’t want to see the same thing happen to the annual Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally held each year at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
Hernando came close to losing that event as well, and Nicholson said he wants the county to move forward with the same diligence it took to save the dog show.
“I don’t want to lose the RVs coming to the airport, and we almost lost them last year,” Nicholson said. “I don’t believe it’s too soon to look into what our policy is for charging these people to come to the airport, because I don’t want them to leave after this year.”
Nicholson asked County Administrator Len Sossamon and his staff to look into the matter.
“I would like us to work now on what it would take to keep them here, because obviously we’re in competition with at least one other county that wants them to move,” he said. “I want them to stay here because it’s a great benefit to our county.”
The FMCA board of directors had considered moving to another county because of rising costs. One of those sites was Volusia County, where officials have expressed an interest in hosting the rally at its fairgrounds.
But the FMCA agreed to extend the lease and license agreement to hold the rally at the airport facilities. The 16th annual event will take place Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 on a converted runway at the airport.
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At least 1,300 motorhomes are expected to roll into the Riverside, Calif., County Fairgrounds in Indio for the 26th annual Western Motor Home Association Rally.
According to a report by the Desert Sun, Palm Springs, the Western Motor Home Association is part of Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), an international organization for motorhome owners based in Cincinnati. FMCA has nearly 80,000 active member families.
The event kicks off today (Jan. 8) and runs through Sunday. More than 3,000 people — about 1,500 families — are expected to participate in the five-day rally, which includes a parade scheduled for Thursday.
The rally and parade are open to the public. A day pass costs $10.
On Tuesday, one big coach after another rumbled into the fairgrounds as volunteers and members readied for the opening of the rally.
“This is one of the largest — if not the largest — in the U.S.,” said Rick Ricordati, FMCA national vice president, western area. “We’re pretty proud of it.
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The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) will be making repeat visits to several venues for upcoming motorhome rallies and shows, according to a press release.
In March 2014, FMCA’s 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase will be held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, marking the eighth time FMCA has hosted an event at the RV-friendly facility. FMCA held its first event in Perry in March 1996. The fairgrounds has continued to add buildings and to make other improvements over the years that have resulted in the location becoming even more attractive for an FMCA event.
“The combination of a first-rate facility — located just off Interstate 75 and along the path of many snowbirds — and the Southern hospitality we always experience in Perry makes this a not-to-be-missed event for motorhome owners,” noted Charlie Adcock, FMCA national president.
Approximately 2,500 motorhome families and some 6,000 to 8,000 people are expected to gather for the March 17-20, 2014, reunion.
The Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Ore., will play host to FMCA’s 90th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase Aug. 13-16, 2014, representing the fifth time the organization has gathered at the facility.
The 132-acre Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center was designed using a circular plot, which makes the grounds easy to navigate and puts the activity centers in close proximity. Well-kept buildings, beautifully landscaped activity areas and spectacular views of seven mountain peaks are other hallmarks of this site.
“The folks at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center are great to work with,” said Jerry Yeatts, FMCA executive director. “And the city of Redmond, as well as the surrounding Central Oregon communities, welcome FMCA with open arms.”
In March 2015, FMCA will make a return visit to Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. Fairplex also provides a nearly ideal setting for an FMCA event, including paved parking for not only the motorhomes that are on display but also for all of the families attending in their homes on wheels.
Set on more than 480 acres, Fairplex is billed as the “largest multi-use playground in Southern California.” TheMarch 26-29, 2015, event — FMCA’s 91st Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase — will mark FMCA’s seventh reunion at this popular, first-class facility.
Plans are in the works for FMCA’s summer 2015 event as well, and the dates and location for that gathering will be announced in the near future.
To register for the upcoming event in Georgia, or for additional information about FMCA’s Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase events, visit FMCA.com or call (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622.