Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s, just under 19,500 people — around 400 over last year’s record — passed through the turnstiles yesterday (Jan. 15) for the opening of the 35th Annual Florida RV SuperShow at the sprawling State Fairgrounds complex in Tampa, Fla.

Hosted by the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), the “Tampa Show” runs through Sunday (Jan. 19) and features some 78 manufacturers displaying thousands of RV units along with more than 400 exhibitors, including supplier companies showcasing their aftermarket parts and accessories and campgrounds hoping to attract attendees to their respective RV parks.

Often seen as harbinger for the year, show organizers are cautiously optimistic the gate attendance will take another run at last year’s record crowd of 74,286 people.

“”It was an absolutely perfect opening day,” reported FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather — very temperate in the low 80s. The crowd was tremendous and it stayed steady throughout the day. I just talked to our manufacturers and dealers and they didn’t have a single negative comment.”

Indeed, the exhibitors RVBUSINESS.com spoke with said the Tampa Show’s first day was one of the strongest on record.

“It was a very successful first day. Attendance has been really robust throughout the day. We’re at 4:10 and it’s probably the quietest it’s been all day. The day has gone by very quickly. We’ve got quite a number of sales in process or completed. And I would say we’re well ahead of where we were a year ago,” said John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing for Newmar Corp., a Nappanee, Ind.-based motorhome manufacturer and subsidiary of Winnebago Industries.

For all intents and purposes, the Tampa Show represented the first public showing of Newmar’s two entries in the Super C segment, the Superstar and Supreme Aire. Both were introduced at industry-only events in 2019, so yesterday was the first opportunity for the public to get a taste of the two models en masse. Saying that both models were among the more popular attractions at the display staffed by North Trail RV Center of Ft. Myers, Fla., Sammut added that the $339,924 (base MSRP) Superstar and $566,558 Supreme Aire — built atop the Freightliner M-2 106 and M-2 112 chassis, respectively — seem to have successfully found a spot in the manufacturer’s motorhome lineup.

“They provide a product to a segment of the market we didn’t previously cater to with our Class A diesel and gas products,” Sammut said. “I think the Super C customer is very specific in their needs. They want to tow heavier items. And with a 20,000-pound towing capacity on the Superstar and 30,000 in the Supreme Aire, there’s a segment of the market that will probably look at a Newmar for the very first time who hadn’t previously considered us. So, we really feel that the product really doesn’t compete with or cannibalize any of the interest or customers for existing Class A motorhome lines.”