Quartzsite RV Show Opens with ‘Overwhelming’ Crowds – RVBusiness – Breaking RV Industry News
On Saturday’s opening day of the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in the Arizona desert, there was one very common theme – overwhelming. Overwhelming as in the vast number of attendees who descended upon this annual event, which runs Jan. 20-28 located about two hours west of Phoenix. While official attendance results aren’t available – there are no turnstiles or admission tickets – organizers and vendors alike were very pleased with the turnout for the opening weekend.
Vendors we spoke with universally were impressed with the number of attendees they saw and the responses to various products that they had for sale.
“I’ve never had such a busy day and I’ve been here for years,” said Christopher Lawrence from Almost Heaven Microfiber. His company sells microfiber cleaning products and towels for RVers.
That was echoed by several other vendors we spoke with including Bryan Nelson, chief revenue officer for Lion Energy. “We typically sell one pallet of product per day. We did two today.”
Another well-attended event were the workshops and seminars – which once again has been coordinated by this reporter and his wife, Peggy, of StressLessCamping.com. Many of the workshops overflowed the specific tent provided for the presentations. In particular solar was the hot topic with workshops on that topic filling the space to capacity. But presentations by two guided tour operators to Alaska also filled the house.
“I’ve wanted to go to Alaska for years and this is how I want to get there,” said one attendee. This was her first time in Quartzsite and she said she was a bit overwhelmed by how much was here even though fellow travelers had tried to describe the event.
In fact that’s something many first-time attendees shared with us. “It’s like the Grand Canyon,” said one first-timer. “You might see pictures and hear stories but nothing can prepare you for what it’s really like.”
Kimmy King, daughter of founder Kenny King and the show’s organizer and promoter, said this first day definitely seemed to set records. While there is no specific way to tally attendance at the show, King did say that she counts the number of bags that were distributed and said this is the largest number taken on the opening day since the leaner Covid-era shows.
“I’ve never seen the line to get in reach all the way to the wash,” she said referring to a line of attendees waiting for the gates to open which reached a nearby wash.
One of the factors that many attendees and vendors alike are waiting on is the impending rainy weather. While Mother Nature was cooperative on this day, only providing a cloud covering, the forecasts call for 2-3 days of rain. That could dampen attendance. It may also bring more into the big tent, which measures 610 feet in length this year – 20 feet more than last year.
Meanwhile Curt Curtis of RV Country was happy with the sales at his dealership’s facilities at the event. To many observer’s surprise, he said sales were actually ahead of last year thus far. While much of the industry is worried about de-contenting RVs, Curtis said his typical customers are looking for full-featured fifth wheels for the most part.
Many of these buyers are trading in something and are already very familiar with the RV lifestyle. Rather than changing sizes, they’re more replacing a fully-featured fifth wheel with another, newer model. “I’ve only seen a couple of new buyers – the rest are enthusiasts of the RV lifestyle and just want something different.
As for the factors of interest rates, “the people shopping are aware of what’s happening and it doesn’t seem to change their minds.”
The show goes nine days – Jan. 20-28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (3 p.m. closing day) at 700 S. Central Blvd., Quartzsite, Ariz., to see the latest gadgets, get work and upgrades done on their RVs and learn more about the RV lifestyle with workshops and seminars in the Seminar tent. Attendance at the event is free for spectators as is parking. Located just off Interstate 10, 125 miles west of Phoenix and just 20 miles from the California border, this sleepy little town plays host to an RV extravaganza that started 41 years ago.