> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Board recently voted to allow exhibitors to hold “preview parties” on Nov. 26, the day before this year’s RVIA-sponsored National RV Trade Show in Louisville.

However, the board also agreed to review the issue of preview parties prior to the Louisville show in 2002.

Prior to last year’s show in Louisville, Forest River Industries Inc. unsuccessfully sought a court order to prevent Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. and Monaco Coach Corp. from holding preview parties on the Monday night prior to the official opening of the show, which occurs on a Tuesday.

Forest River claimed the RVIA was being unfair by allowing people inside the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center (KFEC) to visit the displays of certain members prior to the official opening of the show.

A Virginia state court judge denied Forest River’s request for a restraining order, but RVIA President Dave Humphreys said, “We (the RVIA) lost a lot of credibility with a lot of members who felt they weren’t given equal opportunity.”

The idea of officially opening the Louisville show on a Monday and discontinuing the Thursday session was discussed during the board meeting in Rancho Mirage, Calif., but was eventually rejected.

The Louisville show occurs the week after Thanksgiving, and several board members said it already is difficult to get enough people to work over the holiday weekend to set-up displays for a show opening on Tuesday. A Monday opening would compound the problem, several board members said.

Discontinuing Thursday sessions would hurt the supplier firms exhibiting at Louisville, said Tom Faludy, president of Carefree of Colorado. Typically, RV manufacturers are busy on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Louisville show week meeting with dealers. The RV manufacturers do not have time to visit suppliers until the Thursday session, Faludy said.

Preview parties will be allowed again this year with the restrictions that were in place in the past, Humphreys said. The restrictions include keeping all motorhomes and towable units locked so preview party guests cannot see the interiors, and restricting preview party guests to the displays of the companies hosting parties.