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In The News

RV Industry Celebrates RV Centennial

Category: Centennial
Source: RVIA
Publish Date: Monday, June 14, 2010
Summary: Celebration in Elkhart marks first 100 years of RVs.

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A festive crowd of more than 1,000 gathered at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind., on Monday, June 7 to mark the 100th anniversary of the RV industry at RVIA's RV Centennial Celebration.

The rousing event offered attendees a fun-filled festival, reception and barbecue, an entertaining one-hour program saluting the industry's history and its workers, and a stirring fireworks display to cap the evening.

"This was a great event. I walked away with an enthusiastic drive to continue to innovate in this century-old industry to help keep it alive and vibrant for years down the road," said Doug Lantz, president and COO of Evergreen Recreational Vehicles. "I couldn't wait to get back at it the next day."

"This was a fantastic way to honor the history of the industry and look forward to the future of RVing," added Joe Hosinski, marketing director at Dutchmen Manufacturing.

An especially inspiring highlight of the RV Centennial Celebration was RVIA's "Salute to Workers" during the one hour RV Centennial Program. RVIA President Richard introduced a specially produced video segment that featured RV workers explaining why they enjoyed working in the industry and RV industry executives expressing their gratitude for the service of the workers.

"As we come together for this joyous occasion, we must honor those who are the heart and soul of our industry's success, the RV workers," said Coon. "The hard-working men and women who provide the elbow grease, craftsman who take special pride in their work, and the generations of families who work in this industry, all of them committed to building the best product they can."

Following the video segment, Coon asked all RV production workers in the audience to stand for recognition before inviting a group of workers representing the entire RV workforce to come on stage to accept a plaque from Coon and RVIA Chairman Jim Sheldon that honors their contributions to the industry's success.

The plaque, which recognizes the commitment of the "dedicated men and women who help build products that allow families to travel freely and affordably," will remain on permanent display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum along with a group photo of the production workers that attended the RV Centennial Celebration.

The hour-long RV Centennial Celebration, which got off to a moving start with a specially written song "Drive! Drive!" performed by a live band, also featured a video account of Centennial Charlie's Cross Country Caravan tour of the industry; a look at amusing media coverage of the industry over the years in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Our Centennial;" a special cake-cutting ceremony; and the dedication of the Centennial Time Capsule.

The RV Centennial Celebration kicked off with an outdoor festival that offered casual barbecue fare and many entertaining attractions. This included a dunk tank with industry honchos Richard Coon, Mike Molino and Carl Pfalzgraf; Centennial Chats on the industry's history and appeal from industry personalities Al Hesselbart and Joe Cahn; the Go RVing "History in the Making" booth showcasing the entire archive of Go RVing ads; commemorative photo and video booths; and the Elkhart Truth booth where special RV Centennial sections were available.

In addition, the RV Centennial Cake, RV Centennial Time Capsule and several framed RV proclamations designating June as RV Centennial Month were on display. The evening ended with a stirring 15-mintue fireworks finale set to energetic music that was capped by a blazing ground display proclaiming "RV 100."

"The RV industry is alive, it's well and it's a survivor and it's going to go on for another 100 years, just like it did over the last 100," said Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore, a special guest at the celebration.

The RV Centennial Celebration was supported by the generous contributions from several sponsoring companies. The event's Platinum Sponsors were B&B Molders, Dometic, Jayco, the Kentucky Exposition Center, and Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Gold Sponsor companies were Bank of the West, Cummins Power Generation, Family Motor Coach Association, Fan-Tastic Vent Corp., LaSalle-Bristol, Power Gear/Kwikee Products, Roadtrek Motorhomes, TRA Certification, and United Recreational Vehicles.

Industry members are urged to save the date of June 7, 2110 for the RV Bicentennial Celebration.

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