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Lee Civic Center to host 29th annual RV show

January 16, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The 29th annual Fort Myers Recreation Vehicle Show motors into the Lee Civic Center from Jan. 23-26.

And it again promises to provide attendees the opportunity to see the latest and best camping products available to local RVers and outdoor lovers to be offered by 15 RV dealers and more than 100 outdoor and camping supply vendors.

Attendees can view hundreds of recreation vehicles of every type, size and price range, mostly from local dealers, as well as some who travel statewide, making it the largest dealer-sponsored shows in the state.

"For many years, the Fort Myers RV Show has been the top RV show in Florida and the Southeast simply because of the high-quality products, outstanding displays and cost-saving prices," said Chris Morse, president of Florida RV Trade Association-Region One, in a statement.

Jack Carver, event organizer, said the RV show started almost 30 years ago as a way for local dealers to fill a niche.

"There were only a half-dozen dealers and maybe 20 booths on each side of the civic center and it has grown to become one of the biggest in the Southeast," Carver said.

The event features 15 dealers from throughout Florida, most of them local, displaying a large selection of new 2014 recreation vehicles, including folding campers, gas and diesel motorhomes, travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheels, park models and van campers.

Prices range from $10,000 to $15,000 for a small pop-up trailer, to $800,000 to $900,000 for the most expensive Class A motorhome, Carver said.

"That's the beauty of the show, you can catch a variety of RVs at a variety of prices depending on your need or desire," Carver said.

Attendees will also have the chance to browse 100 outdoor and camping vendors displaying equipment and accessories to help outfit RVers or provide camping information.

Items include new braking systems, RV insurance, specialized camping equipment and high-tech makeovers for older RVs.

Carver said he expects between 12,000 and 13,000 to attend over the four days, a slight dropoff from the 15,000 that came during the salad days.

"There are a lot of RVers around, but with the economy being poor the last few years there weren't as many people looking to trade," Carver said. "I'm hoping that with the trends we're seeing nationally we do well this year."

After the economic fallout of 2008, the RV industry has witnessed a comeback. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in November revealed that wholesale shipments to retailers of all RVs were reported at 21,748, an increase of 5.8 percent over last year.

Towable RVs improved 2.4 percent to 18,711 units with motorhomes climbing 32.3 percent to 3,037 units.

Total shipments have grown 12.2 percent to 299,451 units through November, shipments of towable RVs have risen 9.7 percent to 264,019 units, while motorhome shipments have jumped 36 percent to 35,432 units, all six-year bests.

RVs can be an economical way to travel. PKF's spring 2011 Vacation Cost Comparison Study, the most recent analysis available, showed that a family of four could save between 27 percent and 59 percent on vacation costs by traveling in an RV.

"It's cheaper because you may have more in the fuel because it's a bigger unit, but you'll save the cost of a hotel and restaurants," Carver said. "As things rise, they rise as well. It's a static variable, so it's ales expensive way to travel."

The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission is $8, except on the first day of the event, when it's $6, with children under 16 free. Parking is free courtesy of the RV Trade Association.

Thursday's tickets are discounted to $6 each. For more information, go to



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