Public Days for the 41st Annual Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show opened today (Sept. 16) with an unexpected crush of humanity waiting at the gates of the Hersheypark Entertainment & Resorts Complex in Hershey, Pa.
Lines began forming by 8:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. opening and the lines have been steady through at least 1 this afternoon. Temperatures in the low 70s, a slight breeze and partly cloudy skies made for perfect outdoor fall show weather.
“This is what our Saturday crowd usually looks like,” said Heather Leach, marketing and education director for the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA), one of several PRVCA staffers pressed into selling tickets when the long lines began forming early. “We are very excited.”
The show features 60 manufacturer exhibitors and more than 110 vendor booths covering a total of 1.6 million square feet.
“Last year we had 75 manufacturers and 140 booth vendors. So we are behind compared to last year, but we are still very happy about it being that there are several manufacturers that are no longer in the industry,” Leach told RVBUSINESS.COM.
“For as busy as it is, I have not heard any complaints form anybody,” she said.
What she was hearing was exhibitors saying they are busy “which is our main goal,” Leach said.
“We’ve been slammed since it opened,” said Ron Dickeson, East Coast sales rep for Elkhart, Ind.-based Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC. “It’s absolutely crazy. The crowds have been overwhelming at our display. I think we’re even missing some people because we’re moving so quickly.”
In the opening hours of the show, Heartland noticed the biggest interest in its larger fifth-wheels. The company, which is the nation’s third largest seller of fifth-wheels according to the latest Statistical Survey Inc. report, was seeing buyers moving down from Class A and C motorhome owners into fifth-wheels, he said.
The age of the shoppers is “anywhere from early 40s and up,” he estimated.
“Attitudes are very positive. I have not heard anything negative at the show,” he said.
There is a chance of rain on Thursday, “but the rest of the week looks pretty good,” Leach said.
Public Days come on the heels of two Trade Days where dealers interfaced with the manufacturers.
Nearly 30,000 people are expected to attend the show, which draws consumers from across the Eastern U.S. and Canada.
The show is important for manufacturers, dealers, vendors and park owners as the show features the first look at one site of many manufacturers’ 2010 products.
“RV Buddies” will be shooting upcoming segments for its Internet television show at the 41st Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show from Sept. 16-20 in Hershey, Pa.
Billed as the “The Largest RV show in America” and featuring over 58 leading manufacturers and 110 supplier vendors, this year’s PRVCA show is expected to draw over 35,500 attendees.
“Not only is it the largest RV show in the country, but it’s the first chance to see the new 2010 models and all the latest accessories,” said Mark Summers, “RV Buddies” host and producer. “We’re as excited as our viewers to see what’s new for 2010.”
“RV Buddies” plans to shoot a minimum of 10 comprehensive RV reviews featuring both motorized and towable products. In addition, 10 segments will cover accessories and the RV lifestyle at the show. “It’s an aggressive schedule,” said Summers, “but after a successful first season shooting over 35 segments and a full length documentary, the cast and crew are up to the challenge.”
In addition to filming RVs and accessories at the show, hosts Robert Wittenburg and Elise Baughman will be shooting a special segment in and around Hershey. For his part, Summers has several interviews scheduled with top RV industry executives. “Our interview with Bob Tiffin was very well received,” said Summers. “It still remains in the top 10 videos viewed on the site and so we want to do more.”
Exhibiting vendors are encouraged to contact RV Buddies as the production schedule isn’t completely locked down. Summers can be reached at Mark@RVBuddiesOnline.com.
The Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle & Camping Association (PRVCA) is a nonprofit corporation representing nearly 400 RV dealers, manufacturers, campgrounds, component part suppliers, lenders, insurance and service companies. Its show is held annually at the HERSHEYPARK Entertainment Complex – GIANT Center, in Hershey.
“RV Buddies” is an RV adventure-lifestyle show featuring reviews of RVs, accessories and gear. The show chronicles Mark, Elise, Robert and their two dogs as they visit America’s most beautiful campgrounds and resorts. The program is distributed as an Internet Television production on its own website, on Apple iTunes, and through other distribution channels.
“RV Buddies” films and produces tailored videos for RV manufacturers and suppliers, as well as providing internet marketing and consulting services to the RV industry.
The Recreation Vehicle Education Safety Foundation (RVSEF) will take on an expanded role educating consumers about RVs and the RV lifestyle during a Sept. 13-16 clinc prior to the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey, Pa.
“The number of RVers attending rallies is down, but the percentage of people attending our weighing and driving seminars actually is up,” said Walter Cannon, executive director of the Merrit Island, Fla.-based RVSEF.
Seminars will be presented by Workhorse Custom Chassis Inc., Spartan Chassis Inc., Freightliner Custom Chassis Inc., Cummins Inc.’s Onan generator division and Gary Motley of Motley RV Repair, Oklahoma City, Okla., in addition to the Geeks on Tour, who will teach Internet-related subjects, Nick Russell, publisher of Gypsy Journal, an RV lifestyle magazine, and Mac McCoy, who will instruct on fire and personal safety.
Cannon’s foundation has a full-time team on the road attending about 40 rallies a year sponsoring safety seminars focused on weighing loaded RVs and providing weight-safety instruction. RVSEF — the successor organization to “A’Weigh We Go” founded by John Anderson in Chucky, Tenn. — weighed about 1,500 motorhomes and towable RVs last year.
“We are seeing a decrease in the number of RVers who are overloading their tires,” Cannon said. “The tire manufacturers … have convinced RV manufacturers to install tires for how RVers are using their coaches.”
E-mails promoting the Pennsylvania clinic have gone out to potential RVers visiting the Go RVing Coalition’s gorving.com website, with another round of e-mail and postal mail followups planned early this summer.
The RVSEF clinic at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg (Pa.) Community College, in a manner of speaking, will fill a vacancy left by the poplar Life On Wheels program, which shut its doors in October following the death of founder Gaylord Maxwell. Maxwell sponsored his last Life on Wheels conference the week before the 2008 Hershey Show.
Dry camping for 100 rigs will be available at the college, and those attending for $249 for the first person and $199 for the second also will receive a three-day pass to the Hershey Show Sept. 16-20. Retail days are Sept. 14-15.
“The general need for a program like this is two-pronged,” Cannon said. “For the new owners, it enables them to understand their RV and the RV lifestyle so that they can get the most enjoyment out of their RV dollar.
“The second thing is that 30% of the attendees at Life on Wheels were non-RV owners. They were educating themselves about RVs before committing themselves to the expense. And about 90% of them purchased an RV during the next six months. It wasn’t a dealer or manufacturer talking to them, and they left Gaylord’s clinics feeling that they had the tools to make a decision about how to spend their money wisely.”