(KFOR NEWS December 17, 2019) The Lancaster Event Center fairgrounds in Lincoln, Nebraska has been selected by the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), the world’s largest RV association, to host its 102nd International Convention and RV Expo to be held August 26-29, 2020. This is the first FMCA convention to be held in Nebraska, making Nebraska the 34 th state added to this active group’s twice-a-year international convention schedule for over 150,000 active members.
It’s an interesting story how this unusually late booking for an international event brought Lincoln to be considered. The Lancaster Event Center (LEC) is completing an expansion of its campground to over 1,250 sites put in motion by winning the contract for the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) for four of the next eight years starting in July 2020. News of this campground expansion attracted the FMCA leadership’s attention who made several visits this summer, several unannounced, to get to know
the LEC facility and to think about working Lincoln, Nebraska into their international convention rotation in future years.
“We were already talking with FMCA about working Lincoln into their rotation maybe in 2023 but the group came to us a couple weeks ago to ask us to bid on their August 2020 convention which had another state host location fall through at the last minute,” commented Amy Dickerson, Managing Director.
Lincoln was quickly selected as a finalist along with one other host city and in the end won the bid for this event projected to attract more than 2,000 RVs and hundreds of staff and vendors to run the trade show, entertainment, seminars and social gatherings during the event for approximately 5,000 attendees. As happens at most facilities, the FMCA will be setting up generator-powered electric service for additional RVs in the 160-acre fairgrounds parking lots to reach the 2000+ capacity needed for their event and arranging trucks to provide water and dumping services. The group reports they won’t know the final number of RV registrations in this new, central location until a couple months in advance but anticipate great interest in a new location with all the attractions of the Lincoln area in addition to its central location.
“The ability for the Lancaster County Ag Society to rent out what was undeveloped former corn fields on the eastern side of our grounds will add a profitable source of revenue to help us maintain the LEC fairgrounds for the annual Super Fair and year-round use by hundreds of 4-H, FFA youth and over 500,000 visitors to our 325 local, regional and national events while driving great economic impact for our county,” commented Ag Society Vice President Kendra Ronnau. The Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau supported Lancaster Event Center through this quick, unplanned bid process to help secure this group for Lincoln which will impact local hotels, restaurants, retail shopping and attractions. FMCA reports that past economic impact studies for similar sized international conventions have shown economic impact of $10-15 million to local and state economies.
“The Lancaster Event Center continues to attract high-quality and well-attended events and the FMCA Convention and RV Expo is just another example of a great facility providing great worth to Lincoln and Lancaster County,” commented Jeff Maul, Executive Director & VP of the Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau. “With thousands of visitors ready to come to Lincoln next year for the National High School Finals Rodeo and now the FMCA Convention, the Lancaster Event Center is set to host premier events
during the busy summer travel season, adding a tremendous boost to our hotels, restaurants and attractions. We are excited to see these events in our backyard at the Lancaster Event Center in 2020.”
With this FMCA event booking, the new Lancaster Event Center national event campground will be used fully two times in its inaugural 45 days. Fortunately for the LEC team which will now be hosting four facility-wide events from mid-June through August, the FMCA convention will be relatively self-supporting compared to other events due to many
volunteers and an event services company that travel with the FMCA to han dle parking, cleanup, custom setups of everything from extra electric inside and out to tables and chairs.
“FMCA arrives a couple weeks after our annual fair, so we’ll get the grounds cleaned up and then during the international RV convention just help keep the facility clean and provide full food & beverage service versus running major components of events like the NHSFR and the Lancaster County Super Fair,” said Dickerson.
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