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The Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show was staged in Hershey, Pa., for the first time in September after 35 years at the State Farm Complex in nearby Harrisburg, and by all accounts, it was an improvement over its predecessor.
That’s a good thing for the industry, considering the Hershey show, sponsored by the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), is one of the nation’s key trade-and-consumer RV sales venues.
Dealer attendance was up in Hershey, more units were on display and crowds appeared to be heading toward record numbers through the show’s first three days.
There were problems, however, as a security crew failed to show up on Saturday, allowing show-goers into the venue for free without being counted. And on the final two days, those attending the RV show had to compete for off-site parking a substantial distance away from the show with Hersheypark amusement park visitors.
In addition, shuttle transportation within the sprawling show space, which extended in front of and on both sides of Giant Center, also was absent.
“We were working on making changes for next year before the show ended,” said Rebecca A. Lennington, PRVCA’s executive vice president. “It was imperative that we respond immediately.”
Lennington told RVBUSINESS.com that a special show committee met in November and December to work on ironing out the problems, many of which she believes have been resolved.
First off, PRVCA is going to spend $22,000 to erect a chain-link fence around Hersheypark to maintain security during the Sept. 11-17 show and a tram system will be set up to transport visitors.
Off-site parking will be relocated to a golf course on the south side of Hersheypark to separate show traffic from amusement park traffic.
Also, trade seminars will be held in Chocolate World, which has convention-type facilities, and the gates will open at 9 a.m., an hour earlier on consumer days.
“We received a number of letters, and lots of people took a personal interest in sharing their experiences – good and bad,” Lennington said. “When you have that kind of contact and dialogue with your membership, it’s an ideal way to operate.”