Attendees have packed the expansive Giant Center for this week’s America’s Largest RV Show (Photo by Kirk Zutell)

Attendees have packed the expansive Giant Center for this week’s America’s Largest RV Show (Photo by Kirk Zutell)

Benefiting from cloudless skies and continued strength in the RV marketplace, America’s Largest RV Show eclipsed last year’s attendance record as the host Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA) reported that 52,191 people passed through the gates during last week’s Public Days, running Wednesday (Sept.16) through Sunday at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Heather Leach, marketing director for PRVCA, told RVBUSINESS.com., sister publication to Woodall’s Campground Management. “I certainly couldn’t have ordered up better weather. It was warm and sunny all week. Everybody was in a great mood, and we just had a terrific show.”

Leach reported that this year’s total topped 2014, which posted a then-record attendance figure of 46,143. “Every day was strong this year,” Leach said. “We were behind 2014 on Sunday, but that was because it rained all day Saturday last year, and people stayed home. Our best day was Saturday as attendance hit 17,906, which was a record.”

Exhibition space also posted a new high as 47 manufacturers and 152 supplier exhibitors covered the expansive Giant Center grounds with more than 1 million square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space.

Leach emphasized that in addition to strong traffic, dealers were reporting “people were here to buy.”

“I heard from a lot of dealers that opening day was the best they ever had,” she said. “Sales seemed to be strong throughout the show. One good gauge for how things are going is that there were very few dealers in the show office. If things weren’t going well we would have heard about it.”

She added, “It was a really great mix of people. We had attendees from all over North America and as far away as Alaska and Quebec.”

The show kicked off with two Industry Days on Monday and Tuesday featuring a heightened training schedule that included a slate of seminars conducted by prominent industry suppliers and distributors.

“The training portion of Industry Days went extremely well,” Leach said. “Seminars were well attended. Some were even sold out so we had to close down registration. Most of the companies were telling me they had around 30 attendees, which is about the ideal number. The best thing was that people were saying the seminars were really worthwhile with a ton of information.”

“Overall, it was a really strong statement for the industry. And for us, the most important thing is that our exhibitors were extremely pleased – not only the dealers but the vendors. We heard from some first-time vendors that they were out of product by Thursday and had to order more in. It’s great to have a lot of people, but it’s even greater when our exhibitors have a strong show.”