By Robbin Gould, Editor
The FMCA tradition of motorhome owners gathering for fun and fellowship started with the association’s formation meeting in Hinckley, Maine, in July 1963 and was cemented with the first official convention the next summer in Ticonderoga, New York. That 1964 gathering drew families in 106 motor coaches from 20 states and Canada.
To date, FMCA has held 87 — soon to be 88 — conventions of varying sizes. These gatherings initially occurred once a year in summer. In March 1976 the first winter convention took place at Fiesta Park in Harlingen, Texas, which heralded the start of two events per year. A third event was added to the annual schedule for just two years: FMCA’s first spring convention in Richmond, Virginia, in June 1989, and first fall convention in Sacramento, California, in September 1990.
The largest FMCA convention ever? That would be the assemblage at Brunswick Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine, August 18-20, 2000, when 7,422 coaches gathered on-site, an event FMCA members still talk about.
Other unconventional convention locations have included the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Most FMCA events have been held at fairgrounds, although several have taken place on college campuses, such as the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana; Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge; New Mexico State University in Las Cruces; and the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
Location aside, FMCA Family Reunions feature many much-anticipated events: an extensive seminar schedule; motorhome and accessory exhibits; chapter meetings; dynamite entertainment; morning coffee hour, with music from FMCA’s Frustrated Maestros; ladies’ teas; and ice cream socials. Other activities have included canoe battles, sack races, bean bag baseball . . . even a dunking booth.
For many folks, camaraderie is at the top of the convention amenities list. There’s always time to make a new friend or three, or to reunite with pals from conventions past.
Fun and fellowship are what make FMCA conventions particularly special. They’re anything but conventional.