WHAT’S SO SUPER ABOUT THE FLORIDA RV SUPERSHOW? PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING.
Winter is traditionally considered RV show season, and right now there are hundreds of these popular consumer events taking place around the United States. The shows allow shoppers to explore a wide range of RV floor plans, price points, and industry trends. Many shows also offer educational seminars, food, and entertainment.
Local RV shows are a great way to spend a Saturday, especially if you are searching for your first RV or thinking about trading up to your next rig. However, if you want to experience the RV show of the year, then you better reserve some vacation time next January and head down to Tampa, Florida.
Currently in its 32nd year, the Florida RV SuperShow is the largest show in the country, displaying over 1,500 RVs from every major manufacturer and hundreds of vendors and exhibitors. There is no other annual event where consumers can shop such a wide variety of motor homes and travel trailers.
Simply put, no matter where you are on your RV journey–dreaming about the first rig, accessorizing the current camper, considering a leap from towable to motorized–there is a compelling reason to attend this show.
Shoppers do attend in record numbers, year after year. This January, more than 70,000 people passed through the gates over the course of five days, shattering previous attendance records and proving once again that the Florida RV SuperShow offers an experience that you won’t find at any other show in the country.
Take the on-site camping as a great example. Hundreds of visitors park their rigs at the Florida State Fairgrounds, enjoying complimentary donut breakfasts and evening entertainment. Couples and families return every year to meet up with friends, and the atmosphere feels a lot more like a festival than a shopping event.
When it comes to entertainment, the Florida RV SuperShow is not content to set up a stage and schedule a few performers throughout the day. Instead, the show provides more of a carnival experience, with roaming Bagpipe bands, doo-wop quartets, mimes, and impersonators. The entertainers come together every day at 2 pm for a wild and wacky parade that ambles through the fairgrounds.
The rest of the day, visitors are delighted with various pop-up performances. Jeremy had a spirited conversation with Teddy Roosevelt one morning while touring some 5th wheels, and a band of pirates on a golf cart tried to recruit our kids while we enjoyed lunch later that day.
But our boys had eyes for one performer only: Magic Mike, whose impressive tricks, funny wise cracks, and ridiculously complicated balloon sculptures won over their hearts. We had to make daily visits to Magic Mike, and the RV was overrun with balloon dogs on motorcycles by the end of our visit.
There is plenty of serious business that happens at the show, too. The daily seminar schedule is jam packed with educational sessions, presented by industry safety experts such as Walter Cannon of the RVSEF, who coaches RV shoppers on matching trailers with tow vehicles and understanding RV maintenance requirements.
Plus, a show this size attracts tons of representatives from the RV manufacturers themselves. These manufacturer reps are true experts in their respective products (more so than salespeople who may carry many, many brands and models) and are willing to spend extended time with shoppers and educate them about the product features.
The collection of vendors is truly impressive, as well. We met many podcast listeners who came to the show looking to purchase new RV steps, a center console, or a hand-carved sign to hang at their campsites. We also saw shoppers testing out scooters and learning about new campgrounds around the country.
Of course, if these northeastern campers are being completely honest, one of our favorite things about the Florida RV SuperShow might just be location, location, location. There is a reason (besides awesome RV shopping) that people return every year to the SuperShow. Tampa and the greater St. Petersburg area is an amazing travel destination in its own right, offering great dining, shopping, and cultural attractions.
We enjoyed morning coffee at Buddy Brew, a festive dinner at a Columbia restaurant in historic Ybor City, and a beautiful sunset at Fort De Soto Park. Friends of ours went to Busch Gardens to ride the coasters, while some other folks we talked to raved about the Tampa Museum of Art. Every year, our must-see list of area attractions seems to grow a little bit longer.
We just returned home after five days at the 2017 Florida RV SuperShow, and we are already looking forward to next year. If a bunch of people with an RV shopping obsession got together and planned a party, this is what it would look like: every RV make and model on display, accessories galore, educational seminars, and the wackiest collection of entertainment you can imagine.
Plus palm trees in January. Sign us up.
The 2018 Florida RV Supershow is scheduled for January 16-21, 2018 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. More information can be found at frvta.org.