Horse parks and recreational vehicles don’t at first glance strike most people like a match made in heaven. But during a recession, as Marion County’s Florida Horse Park is looking for new ways to earn money, it’s a financially blessed union, according to the Ocala Star-Banner.
This year, for the third year, the Ocala RV Show, sponsored by the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) is showcasing as many as 300 recreational trailers and coaches at the park. The recreational vehicle show – which runs through Sunday – is among the many new efforts by the nonprofit horse park to venture into non-equine events to make financial ends meet.
“And the RV show is a great example of this,” said the park’s executive director, C. J. Marcello. “There are other venues we could bring to help the park and also to the community.”
Marcello said that when he joined the park more than a year ago it was one of the strategies he urged its board members to focus on.
Expanding the park’s venue generates revenue for the park, but it also attracts people to come to the facility who otherwise wouldn’t visit a horse park.
Uses of the venue during the past year have included antique car shows, cricket matches, lacrosse on horseback, Jack Russell races and bikini polo.
To expand the park’s repertoire, Marcello also booked an April wedding and hopes more couples will come to tie the knot at the park.
The park’s primary purpose is to host or provide space for equine events such as national and international hunter/jumper competitions, but the park’s bills still have to be paid.
“These are the kinds of things you have to do. You have to utilize your assets and these are our assets,” Marcello said.