RV show in Bangor draws a lot of lookers, even a few buyers

Posted Jan. 31, 2009, at 7:09 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Vendors and salespeople at the 24th annual Bangor Camping and RV Show said foot traffic through their stalls was surprisingly busy over the weekend despite the economic turmoil.

Some of the visitors were buying, but others were just dreaming.

Mike Dalton, general manager at McKay’s RV and Marine Center in Holden, said he didn’t know what to expect coming into the weekend, which ran Friday through Sunday at the Bangor Civic Center. So Dalton said Saturday he was “thrilled” at the number of RVs and campers he had sold so far.

“People are positive and looking forward to spring,” he said.

Other vendors said they were getting a good amount of lookers but not many takers. In other cases, potential customers told vendors they were in the market but holding off those big purchases until at least spring in hopes that the economy may improve.

Campground operators, meanwhile, said they were hoping for a solid summer season regardless.

Chris Mixon, owner of Meadowbrook Camping Area in Phippsburg, said he was anticipating seeing fewer RVs when gas prices began climbing and peaked last summer. While high fuel costs did have an impact, the RVs still came and often stayed in one spot for longer periods.

“The way I look at it, camping is still going to be the most economical way to travel,” Mixon said.

Other campground owners, such as Tom and Beth Barr of Shady Acres Campground in Carmel, hope that some Mainers will choose to vacation closer to home this summer because of the recession.

“We’ve had people say local is going to be good this year,” said Beth Barr.

“And we’ve had some people say they were looking for seasonal sites,” added Tom Barr.

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