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RV, camper fans hit road for Green Bay show

Category: RV Show
Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette
Publish Date: Monday, January 26, 2009
Summary: The event featured campers and recreational vehicles to tour and vendors touting everything fans of the

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ASHWAUBENON — In a bad economy, camping is a good deal, enthusiasts say. And hundreds flocked to an annual recreational vehicle and camping show on Sunday to see the latest and greatest in all things camping.

"I think RV'ing and camping are very affordable with the economy the way it is," said Cynthy Buhrandt, director of the WBAY RV and Camping Show held at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena Complex this weekend. "Once the upfront cost is taken care of, it's very affordable."

Attendance for the show, which ran through Sunday, was "up significantly" from other years, said Buhrandt, though she didn't share exact numbers. The event featured campers and recreational vehicles to tour and vendors touting everything fans of the great outdoors might need, including Tupperware, grills and campground information.

"We came just to look," Valerie Zellmer of Appleton said. "I can't believe all the new upgrades. Ours is only a couple years old, but there's already a lot of new stuff."

Her family has a site near Manawa and enjoys spending time with friends and family, she said. "We just love it."

Jane and Norb Gebert of Neenah have been camping for more than 30 years. They'd like to buy a smaller camper and were looking for ideas.

"Our boys are grown up and don't come camping with us anymore, so we're thinking of down-sizing," Norb Gebert said. Still, the couple has no intention of stopping.

"We get away from everything," he said. "It's nice to spend time outside and relax."

That's what draws many people to camping, said Jenny Rollo, a vendor and spokeswoman for Bud Styer and Associates, owner of five campgrounds in Wisconsin. Affordability is a factor, too, she said.

"Campground fees are very reasonable," Rollo said. "You bring your own food so you don't have to go out. And most campgrounds have tons of activities for the family that don't cost anything."

Of course, camping can also cost big bucks. High-end RV models can cost $250,000 to $300,000, and amenities in those models might include washers and dryers, side-by-side stainless steel refrigerators, flat-screen TVs, dishwashers and bedrooms with closets and dressers.

Retired seniors who want to travel are mostly likely to buy these models, said Mike Andes of Tiffen Motorhomes.

"With the general economy the way it is, sales of these Class A models are off a bit," he acknowledged. "But with the huge demographics of baby boomers retiring, I think they'll be in demand."

Overall, he said attendance at the show bodes well for camping and the economy in Wisconsin.

"I've worked three RV shows in three major metro areas, and in comparison this show has been phenomenal," he said. "It's been wall-to-wall people. I think it speaks well to the diversity of the Wisconsin economy. It's a good omen."

Camping is a good deal anyway, he added.

"Even with the cost of gas, RV'ing is a much more economical way for families to travel," he said. "Basically, it's a lifestyle. People aren't going to give up camping. Even with horrible gas prices, people may not go as far or as often, but they'll still go."



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