Large trailers, small trailers, fifth-wheels and motorhomes will pack Michigan’s DeVos Place starting Thursday (Feb. 2) when the Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show opens, according to a report in the Kalamazoo Gazette.
The four-day show runs through Feb. 5 and promises something for everyone, from simple and light towables to open-road, live-aboard motorhomes.
“We are sold out,” said Mike Wilberham, the show producer with Showspan Inc. “I couldn’t sell another booth if I tried.”
This year’s lineup includes 250 recreational vehicles from 100 product lines. Another 100 booths will show the latest in campground and RV accessories.
The show drew 17,000 visitors in 2011. Wilberham said the show is growing, not unlike RV sales across the country. A 2011 study conducted for the Virginia-based Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) found 8.9 million U.S. households were involved in RV recreation, up from 7.5 million in 2005. That sets a high for participation, up from 8.5 million in 2005, according to the study done by RV industry analyst, Richard Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University Michigan.
“It suggests that families are going RVing,” Wilberham said. “They are intent on taking a family vacation and if money is tight, it’s a way to take a good, quality vacation.”
Travelogues and clinics about the RV lifestyle are a regular part of the show. Howard and Linda Payne are two featured presenters. The couple quit their jobs, took their RV and began traveling in 2005. They haven’t quit since, but they’ve gathered a following on at RVdreams.com.
The Paynes will present clinics about making the switch called: “Be Prepared, What Does it Cost and Selecting a Home Base.”
“They were in their 40s when they decided to try a different lifestyle,” Wilberham said.
John Holod and Jodie Ginter also will share their RV travels every day. Holod, an internationally known cinematographer and owner of Holod Productions, is famous for his RV Travelogues with Ginter, his co-producer.
Holod will be presenting three travelogues; Alaska RV Adventure — Highway and Ferry; Rocky Mountain RV Adventure — New Mexico to the Canadian Rockies; and East Coast RV Adventure — Maine to Key West.
Nostalgia fans also will have a chance to revel about an assortment of antique trailers being shown by Ken Faber, a local collector and antique RV restorer.
Innovative interior layouts are just part of what show goers will find at this year’s show. Wilberham said two dealers, Veurink RV Center in Grand Rapids and General RV, from Wayland, will have the latest in front-kitchen fifth-wheels where the kitchen is built into the front of the unit rather than along the middle, allowing for a different space plan.
Overall, dealers are saying their products are lighter and easier to tow — a trend that has been seen in the RV industry for several years. The show also will have park models on display and destination trailers.
“Last year we had record attendance,” Wilberham said. “It seems to me that we should have a great year.”
The Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show, which runs Friday through Sunday at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich., is one of many winter RV shows getting underway this week. View this brief commercial.