The 54th Annual Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO) Convention and Trade Show got underway Wednesday (March 15) at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point, Wis., as attendees took in a full slate of seminars and socializing.
The convention continues today with another full day of seminars followed by an awards ceremony, a presentation by National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) President Paul Bambei, an update on the Outdoor Recreation Act by Jim Button of Evergreen Campsites & Resort, and a live auction to benefit WACO’s political action committee fund.
With this year’s theme set as “Back to the Basics: It’s All About the Base,” the WACO convention, which runs through March 19, is widely regarded as one of the largest such events in the nation. About 500 people from about 125 different campgrounds — including many from other states — are expected to attend, and the convention features a trade show with nearly 200 vendors and educational seminars with around 40 speakers presenting more than 50 seminars.
Already, there were more attendees preregistered for this year’s conference than last year, said WACO Executive Director Lori Severson.
“We had a great first day,” Severson told RVBUSINESS.com. “We really tried to bring in speakers to talk about topics that will help campground owners run their business better, and we made a special focus on showing them how they can attract campers during the week.”
Another highlight of the first day’s activities included an evening trip to nearby Bullheads Bar & Grill — affiliated with the River’s Edge Campground Inc. — that featured dinner and a “Best Ideas” discussion with Adam Malsack of Lake Arrowhead Campground. Among the ideas presented was hosting the weekly managers meeting in the rental units so as to inspect its cleanliness and upkeep, partnering with a forestry class for tree and limb maintenance, and offering free seasonal rental for campers who recruit three other seasonal renters.
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