Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Business

Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association gathers in Hernando County beginning Feb. 1

BROOKSVILLE

They roll in from all over North America: Vermont, Indiana, Colorado, New York, Maine, Ontario. Some travel in luxury rigs worth more than $1 million; others arrive in more modest recreational vehicles.

But the biggest draw at the annual Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association rally, which kicks off Wednesday at the Hernando County Airport, is the camaraderie of being a fellow traveler, says Southeast Area president and rally chairman Ralph Marino.

"It's the American dream to be able to just pick up and go," Marino said from his office at the airport. "Just about everyone you see here has been RVing for a long time. For many of them, it's become a way of life."

Through tough economic times and periods of sky-high fuel prices, the Family Motor Coach Association has hosted rallies for more than 30 years, and in Hernando County for the past 15 years.

And though this year's preregistration of 890 coaches is less than Marino would like to see, he doesn't think the annual pilgrimage is in danger of losing its popularity.

"There are people here who will come no matter what," he said. "They enjoy what we provide and know it's an experience they really can't find anywhere else."

Participation for the rally peaked in 2007 with nearly 2,000 motor homes. But when the economy began to sour and fuel prices rose above $3 a gallon, the RV public became more choosy about where it wanted to travel.

Southeast Area vice president Frank Colletti thinks those numbers will start going up, however, as the baby boomer generation discovers the joys of the RV lifestyle.

"Having a motor home is like having a traveling back yard," Colletti said. "You set up next to a guy and you start talking, and before you know it, you're good friends. It happens all the time."

In addition to being able to check out the latest in RV coaches — more than 100 models will be on display — and accessories, participants are able to take advantage of educational seminars dealing with all things RV. Experts will give talks about tire safety, fire protection, fuel mileage tips, vehicle maintenance and food preparation in limited spaces.

In addition, more that 200 vendors will be on hand, hawking everything from fried goodies to carpet cleaning supplies. And there will be daily entertainment.

The five-day event will bring the county a much-needed economic boost as visitors shop at local retail stores, eat at restaurants and visit regional attractions.

The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce estimates the event will pump $10 million or more into the local economy.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]

Comments
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE ó The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
One of Ybor Cityís most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor Cityís most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA ó Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor Cityís biggest new projects in years ó a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 6 hours ago
Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Publix has been Floridaís favorite grocery chain for decades ó but some shoppers are turning their backs on the store after learning it donated more than half a million dollars to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. A handful of state advocacy group...
Updated: 9 hours ago
GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

At least one gas price tracker expects rising fuel prices to sharply curtail summer travel. "For all those that have said summer travel will be unaffected by high gas prices, we offer thousands of respondents who have strongly indicated thatís not tr...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Netflix announced a production deal Monday with Barack and Michelle Obama that will see the former first couple create a wide range of content for the streaming service.The deal, talks for which had first been reported in March, will encompass a wide...
Published: 05/21/18
Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks is now allowing people to use its restrooms and sit in its cafes and patios even if they do not buy anything.The coffee giant on Saturday announced its new policy, which says that customers, including those who did not make a purchase, can ...
Published: 05/21/18

Hernando Business Digest for May 25

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL UPGRADES SURGICAL SYSTEM: Oak Hill Hospital recently acquired the latest da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which has broader capabilities than prior generations of the system. The new system is designed with the goal of furt...
Published: 05/21/18
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. Whatís more telling is what I didnít do.I didnít hose down a muddy tent, I didnít soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA ó Like his father, who founded the Crabby Billís seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/21/18