More than 5,000 recreational vehicles will converge on the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center next month for a rally expected to draw some 25,000 people and pump $3 million into the Central Oregon economy, according to a report in The Bulletin.
Redmond officials are gearing up for the sixth annual Great North American RV Rally, scheduled for July 11-14, and preparing for the influx of traffic. About 5,200 RVers had registered in early June.
The three-day rally will include family activities, live entertainment, vendor booths and exhibits where visitors can check out – and even test drive – the latest rigs.
Event organizers estimate 2,700 rigs will arrive at the fairgrounds in the two days preceding the event. Three additional lots in the Redmond area will provide parking for the other 2,500 RVers registered to attend.
Redmond Police Chief Lane Roberts said additional officers will be on traffic-control duty and route most rigs away from the highway. Affinity Group, the Ventura, Calif.-based company organizing the event, will fund the cost of stepped-up patrols.
Ron Epstein of Affinity Group said rally goers will not arrive at designated times, but he isn’t concerned they may all show up at once.
“A lot of these people are rally veterans, and they know there are peak times and down times,” Epstein said. “The best thing we do is assign them a parking area where we work to get them parked. We’re not bringing in thousands and thousands of RVs and park them on a first-come first-served basis because you just can’t do that.”
Epstein said his company has been organizing events like this for nearly 25 years and conducted numerous studies on the benefit to local economies. The estimated $3 million in revenue generated during the event is based on a range of purchases rally goers will make, from gas to souvenirs.
More than 500 exhibitors have signed up to display the latest RV models and a wide variety of items including RV components, tires, cameras, chairs and personal items, Epstein said.