By R.G. Wilson, F21025
FMCA’s 73rd International Convention, held March 21, 22, 23, and 24 in Perry, Georgia, is now history. This was the fourth time we have visited the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. All four of these gatherings have resulted in attendance that ranks in the top 10 for FMCA events. The recent March gathering, dubbed the “America On The Move” convention, attracted 5,127 family motor coaches and 1,340 commercial motor coaches, for a total coach count of 6,467. This was the sixth largest FMCA convention to date.
The Agricenter is a great facility and it was even better this time, as the new Miller-Murphy-Howard Building had been constructed since the last time we were there. With this new addition we were able to accommodate more than 600 indoor exhibitors in first-class facilities. I received reports that exhibitors were very pleased with their accommodations and sales.
Seminars seem to keep growing in popularity at our international conventions. Although the new Miller-Murphy-Howard Building also gave us two additional seminar rooms, they are small rooms, and we didn’t have as many large rooms (those that can seat up to 1,000 people) as we do at some facilities we visit. Eleven seminar locations were available, with only two rooms able to accommodate 1,000 people. There were 164 seminars and events scheduled in these 11 locations during the convention, involving 125 seminars and 39 meetings. Some of the more popular seminars that were filled to capacity were repeated later during the convention. I hope family members unable to attend a particular session were able to select another seminar during the desired time slot.
I thought the entertainment was exceptionally good. Where else can a family go to get five nights of quality entertainment for the price of registration? I realize that most of our attendees do not dance, but many came on Sunday night to watch others participate in square dancing and line dancing led by Howard Cowles, L18517, sponsored by Coach-Net, C4055; Fan-Tastic Vent Corporation, C3077; and FMCA. On Monday they enjoyed listening and dancing to tunes from the Georgia Big Band, sponsored by Alpine Recreation, C9932, and FMCA. On Tuesday night Mac Frampton and the Hollywood Hills Orchestra wowed us with their very unusual and entertaining performance, which was sponsored by Outdoor Resorts of America Las Vegas/Motorcoach Country Club, C10274, and FMCA. We country-western fans really enjoyed the energy of Pam Tillis as she entertained us on Wednesday night, courtesy of Pioneer Electronics, C9420, and FMCA. The grand finale was on Thursday night with the Oak Ridge Boys. Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, and FMCA sponsored this outstanding, talented, and popular quartet. The Reaves Arena was packed and the crowd stayed for the full show and begged for more.
Entertainment filled the daytime hours, too. Starting every morning at Coffee Hour we were treated to performances by FMCA’s beloved Frustrated Maestros. This is a fun-loving group of volunteers who enjoy using their musical talents to cheer others and have fun. We thank Guaranty RV Center, C4161, for sponsoring our morning coffee and doughnuts.
Daytime entertainers included Alice Detrick, Howard Cowles, Willie & Company, and Flakey the Magic Clown. We also had some local entertainers from Perry and the surrounding area.
As usual, the Ice Cream Social creates a massive traffic control situation, but our folks love it. We thank Aon Recreation Insurance, C95 (formerly RV Alliance America), for sponsoring that event.
Overall, we had a great convention, despite the Georgia rains. This event could not have happened without all the wonderful volunteers. We thank the Southeast Area chapters and other volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a huge success.
We also thank our commercial members and other sponsors that contributed so generously in making our “America On The Move” convention successful.
We had a very large percentage of first-time convention-goers in Perry, and they seemed to have had a great time. I encourage you to start planning now to attend FMCA’s 74th International Convention August 15, 16, 17, and 18 in Minot, North Dakota. Become involved and active with your FMCA family.