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.