RVIA_CentennialEditor’s Note: The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) provided this update on its centennial celebration in the current issue of RVIA Today Express.

RVIA hosted a webinar Friday (Dec. 11) to discuss plans for a year’s worth of celebrations marking the industry’s centennial year in 2010. More than 20 representatives of RV and campground associations and a phalanx of trade media representatives participated in the webinar, as RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella outlined RVIA’s planned events and encouraged the industry to take initiative in scheduling their own celebrations.

LaBella emphasized that the centennial celebrations will be a terrific way for the industry to demonstrate unity, and groups can also involve consumers in their celebratory events. “The Centennial is an industrywide celebration that will continue throughout 2010 – including at the 48th National RV Trade Show – and help lift the industry’s spirits as it draws positive attention to RVing, helping us stress a positive message about the industry to counteract the difficult economic conditions we have faced,” he said.

After reviewing details of the RV Centennial Media Tours scheduled for spring, LaBella outlined new events being planned for the centennial including RV Centennial Celebration Month, set for June. RVIA is working to have official proclamations issued from both President Obama and the Congress identifying it as such, and he encouraged industry members to reach out to their state and local governments to have similar proclamations made.

RV Centennial Celebration Month will be highlighted by RVIA’s all-industry party, being held June 7, during RVIA’s Committee Week and Annual Meeting, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart. LaBella reported that the party will be an evening event featuring videos to mark the industry’s centennial and culminating in the enshrining of an industry time capsule that will be featured at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum for years to come.

In fact, the centennial will be a guiding theme at next year’s Committee Week, with events and speakers scheduled throughout the event. RVIA will invite President Obama, who has shown a particular interest in the RV industry, as well as other political leaders, to help celebrate with the industry and speak at the event.

LaBella also announced that a Centennial Mascot will soon begin a nationwide tour of retail RV shows and manufacturing plants. Show promoters and RV manufacturers, suppliers, and campgrounds will receive information from RVIA in January about how to include the mascot at industry events.

LaBella said, “I encourage all RV manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, campgrounds, owner groups and publishers to schedule their own celebrations on a large or small scale.” He urged them to visit www.RVCentennial.org for a treasure trove of free resources including an online message board that has been specially designed for the industry to facilitate an exchange of centennial celebration ideas among colleagues. The website also hosts the four-minute RV Centennial video, which members are encouraged to download and share, and downloadable centennial logos and images of antique RVs. LaBella encouraged the industry to use all of these materials in any way they wish.

The RV Centennial is an industrywide, year-long celebration to celebrate the industry’s rich history and promising future. The year 1910 has been identified as the beginning of the RV industry when the first mass-produced, manufactured auto campers and camping trailers– the forerunners of today’s RVs – were built.