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Sixty-two dealers will display nearly 1,300 RVs during the 38th Annual Pennsylvania Recreational Vehicle and Camping Show, a trade-and-retail venue slated for Sept. 11-17 at Hersheypark/Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.
“The show is bigger and better than ever,” reports Heather Sheerer, marketing and education director for the sponsoring Pennsylvania Recreational Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA). “There are a lot of new things coming this year.”
Among the most talked about new entries at Hershey will be Workhorse Custom Chassis Corp.’s new Universal Fuel/Floorplan Option (UFO) chassis, which will make its trade and retail debut on a rear-engine, gas powered, 35-foot Forest River Georgetown Class A motorhome. Either gas or diesel engines can be mounted on UFO’s pusher chassis.
“It’s revolutionary,” noted Art Colvin, Forest River General manager. “It’s been years since anybody tried a rear gas engine. Some people remember the cooling problems with previous rear gas engines. But Workhorse has developed an advanced cooling system that does an excellent job of regulating the engine’s temperature.”
The Georgetown, built on a 26,000-pound GVWR chassis powered by a rear-mounted 8.1-liter GM Vortec engine, will be available for test drives.
Also on hand at Hershey, about 15 miles east of Harrisburg’s Farm Show Complex where the East Coast’s premier retail show had been held for a number of years prior to 2005, will be nine Elkhart (Ind.) County recreational park trailer manufacturers who — like many other U.S. RV manufacturers — will be gauging the mood of the buying public as the seasons turn toward winter.
“Everybody’s probably looking at this show to see what the consumer attitude is,” said Olin Wenrick, president and CEO of Elkhart-based Trophy Homes Inc., and president of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
Wenrick said consumer interest will be particularly noteworthy because of the recent Midwest RV Super Show at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind., which generated a high turnout but did not meet expectations in terms of sales. “It was mostly just inquiries,” he said.
The consumer portion of the show, which PRVCA bills as the largest consumer show in the country, will be preceded Monday and Tuesday by two trade days. A party for industry members will begin at 4 p.m. Monday followed at 7:30 p.m. by entertainment by noted country singer Darryl Worley who will dedicate his performance to those who died five years ago during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Monday is the fifth anniversary of 9/11.
On Tuesday, former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, now an equity partner in Don Shula’s Hotel and Golf Club along with Don Shula’s Steak House Inc., will discuss his managerial business philosophy during the Annual Red Carpet Breakfast and Meet and Greet. And in educational sessions, sale consultant Randy Sobel will deliver insights on increasing unit profits. RPTIA Executive Director Bill Garpow will address the hazards of RV resorts turning into “trailer camps.” And Gary Bunzer, the “RV Doctor,” will talk about distance learning opportunities for RV technicians.
Meanwhile, a new tram system will be in operation during the show to carry people around the perimeter of the 1.4-million-square-foot outdoor display area.