More than 30,000 people were expected to attend the 53rd Annual Louisville (Ky.) Boat, RV & Sportshow which ended  Sunday (Jan. 24) at the Kentucky Exposition Center, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

This year’s show seemed more packed than last year’s — in attendance and exhibits — as the economy appeared to be rebounding, said Keith Ammons, a spokesman for the show that’s hosted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

He said exhibitors gave buyers deals on new 2009 models that haven’t yet sold, and most people could get between 10% and 20% off.

“I don’t know if this means in the next month we’re going to have a great economy, but the turnaround has started,” he said.

Alan and Carol Schmitz agree.

The Worthington couple opened Salty Paws Marine & RV, which sells boat and RV accessories, in Fern Creek in August, Carol Schmitz said. Their booth at the show boasted a yellow 1975 Volkswagen camper bus, margarita glasses, deck chairs and “Parrothead” merchandise, along with the basic equipment needed by sport enthusiasts.

“We’ve gotten some friends who said, ‘We’re sure you’re crazy,’” Alan Schmitz said. “Other people said ‘good for you’ for doing what this economy needs.”

“We’re overwhelmed — in a good way,” Carol Schmitz said.

Exhibits included more than 300 boats and over 200 RVs.