Darryl Searer

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show may be relocating from its longtime home in Louisville, Ky., but don’t expect Indiana’s Elkhart County to be its new home anytime soon. 

The Elkhart Truth reported that RVIA announced Monday (April 17) in a press release it is currently working with an independent research firm, Stax Inc., to conduct extensive research to identify opportunities for improvements and to understand the optimal timing and location for the National Industry Trade Show moving forward.

Traditionally held in late November at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., the show provides dealers, store owners and campground operators the opportunity to come together to process orders, conduct marketing discussions and network.

Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, said that even with current expansion plans at the Hall of Fame, the facility still wouldn’t be able to compete to host the RV industry’s largest annual show. 

“We are looking to expand to 60,000 square feet of show space,” he said. “The trade show currently takes up over 1 million square feet of space.”

Searer unveiled the bold plan to expand the Hall of Fame last fall, which includes adding a 60,000-square-foot event center, a 15,000-square-foot pavilion with a stage, restrooms and a campground rally site. Currently, with only 18,000 square feet of space, he has estimated that from 2015 to 2016 the Hall of Fame has had to turn away at least 45 events due to space constraints. 

The Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis is the only facility in the state large enough to host the show, with 1.3 million square feet of show space available. The annual show has only moved from Louisville one time to Atlanta, Ga., for a year, which Searer attributed to space constraints.  “The show had outgrown Louisville so we moved to Atlanta,” he said. “That caused Louisville to expand their center and we promptly moved back.” 

Searer said when the expansion is done at the RV/MH Hall of Fame he expects to be able to compete for the Valley RV & Camping Show, which is held annually at the Century Center in South Bend. He also expects to be able to host large car and marine shows. 

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