Annual Hershey RV Show Off to a Big Start

The first public day of the annual Hershey RV Outdoors Show in Hershey, PA, can be summed up in just two words …. Big and Hot.

The show, the largest gathering of both factory-fresh recreational vehicles and an eager audience of potential buyers, demonstrated the rebirth of what just two years ago was a struggling RV industry.

Thousands of showroom ready RVs were scrutinized by the first of 40,000 outdoor enthusiasts expected to attend this year’s event in the chocolate capital of the U.S.

Temperatures over 90 and humidity over 50 percent had RVers scampering from one air-conditioned unit to the next.

This year’s show saw small ultralight RVs and giant “toy haulers” take center stage as manufacturers showed they haver what it takes to address both volatile fuel prices and the desire of campers to take their motorized toys along in their custom rolling garages.

The Recreational Industry is definitely back on its feet. Almost monthly, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association reports double-digit growth in factory shipments. On Wedneday, dealers at the Hershey show said sales in 2013 have been brisk, and interest at the show gave them no reason to think sales would continue a torrid pace.

“We have a very healthy, successful network of dealers all across North America,” said Scott Degnan, Vice President of Sales and Product Management for iconic Winnebago Industries. “Sales are going well, and we have a lot of new products for RVers to consider. The future looks bright.”

Wednesday’s first show day catered to retirees, full-time RVers and those who are dreaming of life on the road. Even the heat couldn’t keep their numbers down.

Inside the aptly named Giant Center in Hershey, booths for everything from spare parts to grills vied for attention. Kampgrounds of America’s huge display had a steady stream of campers – some picking up a copy of the world famous KOA Directory, some plotting their next camping trip using the 8-foot-high KOA system map on display.

“We love KOA, and we’d sure love to have one of those new rigs outside to camp in,” said KOA camper Rich Eldridge of nearby Philadelphia. “We come to Hershey every year for the show. It’s something that every camper should do at least once.”