Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 10.48.48 AMOrganizers for the 57th Annual Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show are reporting record attendance for the second year in a row.

Sponsored by the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC), the Feb.2-5 show drew 12,644 to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, topping last year’s record total by 281, or 2%, and eclipsing the previous high in 1999 which saw 10,442 people pass through the gate.

Matt Rose, director of recreation vehicles for IMHA-RVIC, noted that the crowd was especially enthusiastic and “ready to buy.” 

“This year, even more so than past years, attendees came ready to buy,” Rose said. “People had specific brands, units and floorplans they were looking for. Many had done their homework and came out to the show to see the units and make a purchase.”

“The winter show season has been outstanding all over the country,” Rose added. “Gas prices are low, financing remains readily available and people in general are feeling good about their finances and the economy. All of these factors have contributed to the success the RV industry is enjoying right now.” 

Rose said that the steady flow of traffic translated into an uptick in sales for participating dealers.

“This year’s show produced well over 25% more qualified buyers than last year,” said Rick Sullivan, owner of Sullivan RV Supercenter, Decatur, Ind., noting his dealership has been participating since 1999. “There is a lot of excitement out there, and, at times, the crowd we had in our display was like a feeding frenzy.” 

Randy Riley, sales manager for Barton Lake RV in Fremont, Ind., also reported a strong showing for the dealership, which has been displaying at the Fort Wayne event for over 20 years.

“People seemed more excited this year and really wanted to sit down and buy an RV,” he said, adding that Barton Lake RV brought all Keystone towable products. “This had to be our best show in 21 years.”

In addition to Sullivan RV Supercenter and Barton Lake RV, other Indiana retailers included The RV Center, Columbia City; Garrett Camper Sales, Garrett; Total Value RV, Elkhart; Wana RV Center, Shipshewana; Coplen’s Coleman Camper Center, Fort Wayne; Suncoast Trailer Sales, Pierceton; Zoomers RV of Indiana, Wabash; and Knott’s RV Center, Fort Wayne.

Next year’s Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show will run Feb. 1-4 at the Coliseum.