Outdoor enthusiasts converge on Bangor Camping and RV show

People check tents displayed by Epic Sports at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center during the Camping and RV Show in Bangor Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. After a two-year hiatus, the show is back for the 23rd time this weekend.
People check tents displayed by Epic Sports at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center during the Camping and RV Show in Bangor Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. After a two-year hiatus, the show is back for the 23rd time this weekend. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 04, 2012, at 1:12 p.m.
Dexter Osborn gives a treat to Tonk the Alaskan grizzly bear during during the Grizzly Experience show at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center during the Camping and RV Show in Bangor Friday.
Dexter Osborn gives a treat to Tonk the Alaskan grizzly bear during during the Grizzly Experience show at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center during the Camping and RV Show in Bangor Friday. Buy Photo

BANGOR, Maine — The dead of winter is apparently a good time to start getting ready for summertime fun.

That’s what people at the Bangor Camping and RV Show said on Saturday, the second day of the three-day event that features recreational vehicles, fifth wheels, campers and pop-ups as well as camping and backpacking gear.

“We just want to see what’s new,” June Clukey of Ripley said.

She and her husband, Jim, have a 25-foot Zinger travel trailer and are considering upgrading.

They were not alone.

Lynn and Galen O’Kane of Ellsworth also were window shopping on Saturday. Lynn O’Kane was sitting in the driver’s seat of a small RV and said she typically doesn’t drive but wanted to see what it was like behind the wheel. The couple have traveled all over the country and their favorite trip was visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains in an RV.

“It’s too early to tell” if the couple will purchase a new vehicle, Galen O’Kane said. “We’re not sure. It depends on the economy and right now we’re keeping our options open.”

If crowds and sales are an indicator of the country’s economy, things are looking up, said Kevin Silcox, district sales manager for Keystone RV Co., based in Goshen, Ind.

“In the last couple of years it’s been a little tough, but still moving forward,” he said. “So far this year, they’ve been awesome.”

Silcox, who is in town working for Webb’s RV, said he attends RV shows all over country, held each year between the end of January and April.

“Attendance is up and sales are up” this year, he said. “We’re seeing some really good signs out there.”

This year’s Bangor Camping and RV Show, which is back from a two-year hiatus, features a first look at 2012 vehicles by Winnebago, Keystone, Jayco, Northern Lite, Sunnybrook and Open Range.

Some of the folks at the show are newcomers, and others are looking to upgrade, Silcox said.

“It’s a lifestyle for some people,” he said.

Steve and Cheryl Burton of Ripley said they bought their first recreational vehicle 35 years ago and have been camping ever since. They now have a 35-foot RV and “we just keep upgrading,” Cheryl Burton said.

The Burtons and the Clukeys spend time each summer on Piper Pond in Abbot and are joined by Dominic Cesena and his family, which includes his wife and two daughters, who stay in a 33-foot camper.

“It’s a great, fun thing to do,” he said. “There is enough room for everyone and their friends. If they don’t fit, they go into a tent.”

Bangor’s Epic Sports is on hand showcasing all of the latest in backpacking and camping gear.

The show is open until 6 p.m. Saturday and will run 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The entrance cost is $5 for adults and children under 12 get in free.

Dexter Osborn’s “A Grizzly Experience,” which features a performance by Alaskan Grizzly bears, is an added bonus, with shows at noon and 3 p.m. both days.

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