If attendance was any indicator, it seemed East Tennessee residents missed the Knoxville RV Super Show during its two-year hiatus.
According to a report by the Mountain Press, Sevierville, the show returned to the area last weekend, filling the events center with more 10,000 outdoor enthusiasts looking to kick off the 2012 RV season.
“I’ve done shows in Tennessee for 20 years and never had a show this successful,” said Rob Lynch, president of Odyssey Events. “It’s been beyond any of our expectations. We’ve well surpassed our goals.”
During the three-day event, attendees from all over the Southeast shopped at the 35 vendor booths — buying everything from parts and accessories to campground equipment. They also wandered through the rows of RVs, motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth-wheels and pop-ups brought by eight different vendors located in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Though the show was typically held in different facilities in the past, Lynch and other event officials knew Sevier County was the perfect location for this year’s return.
“Any time you have a market like (this) area, with a huge attraction of RVers (because of the) campgrounds here, there’s a huge demand for it,” he said. “We wanted to bring it back here and to this marketplace.”
Hosting the event in Sevierville was a conscious, well-thought out decision Lynch said.
“The Sevierville Events Center is the nicest facility in Tennessee,” he said. “There’s not an RV show bigger than this in Tennessee. There’s no better place to have an event like this.”
As the steady stream of event-goers trickled past, Lynch couldn’t help but look around and smile.
“We’re drawing people to Sevierville from all over,” he said. “We didn’t expect that.”
“We’ve had a tremendous turnout,” said Jason Rees, sales manager at Tennessee RV Sales and Service. “The traffic on Friday was probably triple of what we expected. (Saturday) was good, too. If this is a sign of the year to come, we’ll have one of our best years ever in the RV industry. It’s looking like 2012 is going to be a good year.”
Rees admits that it’s a perfect time of year to host an RV show. Travelers are just starting to gear up for the spring and summer.
“It’s a good time to show new products and things (we have) out in the lot,” he said. “It’s a good time to purchase an RV (too). You can take it on a few trips and get it ready for springtime.”
Because of the overwhelming response, Lynch has decided to return with the show next year.
“It’s going to be an annual event,” he said. “It will be the first week of January every year.”