By R.G. Wilson, F21025
I’m very excited about the plans we have made for FMCA’s 71st International Convention. It will be the first time we have held a convention in the beautiful Southwest city of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Several new events are being planned for this convention, which we’re calling the “Albuquerque Adventure.” Albuquerque offers a unique mixture of cultures, natural beauty, historic attractions, mild and fiery cuisine, museums, and shopping to create an unforgettable visit for everyone attending.
Albuquerque hosts the largest and most photographed balloon event in the world. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held every October, and the majority of members attending FMCA’s 71st International Convention will be parked at the Balloon Fiesta grounds. On Thursday, March 18, the final night of the convention, we will have a “balloon glow” at the Fiesta grounds, where you will experience the beauty of multicolored balloons as they are illuminated against the evening sky. In addition, we will enjoy a “fiesta” with food and with music from a mariachi group and a Texas-style swing band at an outdoor stage. This will be a wonderful outdoor family event, where our members can bring their lawn chairs, kick back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the area after three days at the convention. On Wednesday, March 17, after families return to their motorhomes for the night, we’ll enjoy a fireworks display.
All of our other convention activities will be held at Expo New Mexico (formerly known as New Mexico State Fairgrounds), approximately 12 miles from Balloon Fiesta Park. Tour buses will transport members between the two locations constantly during the three days. If you prefer, you can drive your towed car to Expo New Mexico, where there will be ample car parking in a designated place on the grounds.
Exhibitors will show their newest motorhomes, components, and accessories to thousands of FMCA members attending this event. You also will enjoy visiting more than 500 indoor booths located inside exhibit buildings.
Daytime entertainment will be offered in and around the coffee hour tent and outdoor areas, where you can sit and relax.
We will begin three nights of fantastic evening entertainment on Tuesday, March 16, with a performance by nationally acclaimed entertainer John Davidson in Tingley Coliseum at Expo New Mexico. John Davidson has enjoyed an illustrious career as one of America’s most loved entertainers. John began his career as a singer and gained fame for singing beautiful love songs. He went on to host two of America’s favorite game shows: “The $100,000 Pyramid” and “The New Hollywood Squares.” He also hosted his own talk show, “The John Davidson Show,” and was co-host of “That’s Incredible.” He also has performed in many movies and stage shows.
I took my family on an Alaskan cruise last June where John Davidson entertained one night and sang many of his wonderful songs, such as “After the Loving.” I approached him after the show and asked him whether he would be interested in performing for FMCA. He said he would love to entertain for us, so we were able to book him for the Albuquerque convention.
On Wednesday evening, March 17, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers “” Steve and Rudy “” will take the stage. The Gatlins started singing in their hometown of Abilene, Texas, four decades ago, and from there they went on to make musical history. In 1992 they decided to stop touring. However, demand brought them out of retirement, and they are now in the midst of “The Gatlin Brothers Never Ending Reunion Tour,” playing selected dates around the country.
I have already told you about the final night of entertainment, which will be our grand finale at the Balloon Fiesta Park. I believe you can see why I am so excited about this convention.
My wife, Jeri, wants me to remind the ladies to bring their red hats and purple dresses for a gala event organized by Rosalie Pindell, F105443, wife of Rocky Mountain Area vice president Duane Pindell. Duane has done an excellent job getting his Rocky Mountain Area volunteers organized to ensure a successful convention.
Get out your 2004 calendar and be sure to make plans to attend the “Albuquerque Adventure” convention March 16, 17, and 18, 2004. Register now using the form that appears elsewhere in this magazine or sign up online at FMCA.com.