Attendance was down only 2% at the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show which concluded on Sunday (Sept. 16), according to Larry Mellott, show chairman.
“Our customers said, ‘We’re not going to crawl under a rock, we’ll go on with our lives,’ ” said Mellott, co-owner of Mellott Brothers Trailer Sales, Willow Street, Pa.
The 2% decline is equivalent to only 40 to 50 fewer attendees when compared with attendance at the show during 2000, which was the best-attended Harrisburg show ever, he said.
Sales were “a little softer” at this year’s show, but given the circumstances, Mellott said, “We’re very pleased” with attendance and sales volume.
On Friday, attendance was in the 4,000 range and the show drew almost 9,000 paying customers on Saturday, Mellott said.
Sunday’s attendance appeared to be down when compared with Saturday, but that is the case even in a normal year, he added.
Only adults needed to pay to attend the Harrisburg show, and those buying three-day passes were counted as only one admission, Mellott said.
The prayer service at noon on Friday and candlelight vigil Saturday night were well received by attendees and exhibitors, he added.
This year’s Harrisburg show began with industry-only days on Monday (Sept. 10) and Tuesday (Sept. 11). Mellott said he “agonized for hours” last Tuesday over whether to cancel the consumer portion of the show, which began on Wednesday.
Also, the Harrisburg show takes place in a state government-owned facility, and there was the possibility that the governor of Pennsylvania would order a cancellation of the event.
However, Mellott said, “I decided we’d go ahead and do the best we could with what we had.”