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Although attendance of 27,838 was down by 11.6% compared to 2007, show organizers and exhibitors were obviously pleased when more than 300 people were waiting in line as the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show opened its gates Sept. 10 on the first consumer day at the Hersheypark and Giant Center in Hershey.
In fact, it was the kind of turnout that sent a positive shockwave through an industry that needed a dose of good news at the time.
“The first day was way up from what it’s ever been,” said Dan Saltzgiver, show chairman for the sponsoring Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) and co-owner of Reichart’s Camping Center, Hanover, Pa. “Overall, there were some dealers who did very well, some who did OK and some who didn’t do well at all. It all depended on the products they were handling.”
As has been typical in recent years, the Sept. 8-14 show was hampered by rain – more than three inches fell on Friday.
Highlights of the event included the re-emergence of the Coleman brand name on folding camping trailers, the introduction of the Damon Avanti Class A motorhome on a lighter-weight Workhorse chassis and the retail debut of Dynamax Corp.’s DynaAire, the motorized manufacturer’s first fifth-wheel.
PRVCA reported there wasn’t much impact with regard to a change in rules that allowed 20% of units shown in Hershey to be 2008 models in deference to the soft RV market nationally. Only 45 units out of the 1,199 display and demo units that dealers took to the show were 2008 models.
“We didn’t come anywhere near 20%,” said PRVCA Executive Vice President Rebecca Lennington. “Some were glad they could bring in 2008’s and others were indifferent.”
The state of the national economy notwithstanding, the number of manufacturers showing product in Hershey increased to 75 from 72 in 2007 and the number of suppliers with booths in the Giant Center increased to 139 from 127.
And with park models at the time excluded from December’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., the number of manufacturers displaying product in Hershey increased to 48 from 30 in 2007 at what amounts to the East Coast’s most important annual show. “This worked out nicely for us,” said Rick Olson, a sales representative for park model builder Kropf Industries Inc., Goshen, Ind.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reversed its decision this week and is allowing park models in Louisville.