‘Largest RV Dealer Show on Earth’ underway in Elkhart

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:41 PM EDT
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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Two members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have played concerts in Elkhart this week.

Last night it was John Mellencamp. On Monday, it was the Red Rocker—Sammy Hagar.

“We had Sammy Hagar and I’ll tell you what, If I have his energy at 75-years old I will consider myself a lucky man. So, it was great, he put on a great show,” said Tommy Hall with Grand Design RV.

After two years of COVID cancellations, this week marked the return of an event called the RV Dealer Open House.

RV dealers from across North America come to Elkhart to see the latest products being offered by RV manufacturers.

Mark Person is the General Manager of the RV dealership Campers Inn near Boston. He is attending his first ever RV Dealer’s Open House event in Elkhart.

“I was at the concert last night with, I think Florida Georgia Line with Nelly and just great, great food.”

While event organizers tend to think globally when hiring entertainment, they think local when it comes to catering.

On Wednesday, Paul Cataldo with Antonio’s Italian Restaurant in Elkhart was serving lunch under the tent at the Grand Design RV exhibit.

“We typically feed about 125 to 150 people a day,” Cataldo told 16 News Now.

“We’re lucky enough to have them hire us to come out and feed their dealers all week. And so, we’re here all week, Monday through Thursday, and we feed them a different menu every day for lunch.”

While RV shipments in August were down 36-percent this August compared to the same month last year, shipments are only down 2.6 percent year to date through July.

2022 Shipment are 2.6 percent off the pace of a record year as the pandemic brought many new buyers into the market.

“It doesn’t slow down. It goes back to sometimes a new norm right? And that’s what our industry is doing right now, but in my opinion it’s still an awesome time to be in the industry and there’s a lot of upbeat dealers walking around our displays,” said Grand Design Founder Don Clark.

The 2022 Open House concerts will conclude tonight with a performance from Brantly Gilbert.