RVFEST 2011 Rally Recap

RVFEST 2011 Rally Recap
By Lester A. (Les) Potteiger
RVFEST 2011 was held 20 to 27 June at the Elkhart County Agricultural and 4H Fairgrounds, Goshen, Indiana.  The rally was successful with a peak attendance of 111 individuals in 54 RVs.  Hosts for the rally were: Richard and Virginia Raikes; Stephen Wismer and Anna Patterson; Duane and Neena Durham; and, Les and Jean Potteiger.  Regretfully many could not attend for medical reasons or family commitments.  (Some told me that their reason for not attending was the high price of fuel!)  Don and Suzanne Palczynski were named Honorary Hosts of RVFEST 2011; they did not feel like they could be co-hosts because Suzanne is having trouble getting around and indeed, they could not attend because she had medical tests the week before the rally.  (She is to have back surgery near the end of August 2011.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.) 
We pray that the health of those with medical conditions is improving and that they will be able to fully enjoy the RV lifestyle once again.  There will be an RVFEST 2012 June 18 to 24, 2012 at the same location.  I hold 22, non-refundable $20.00 deposits for this rally. It will be one day shorter because a large Fleetwood RV rally is scheduled for the following week at the Fairgrounds.  We will be able to stay later on Sunday 24 June so that we can have our Interdenominational Worship Service so ably conducted this year by Reverends Larry and Carol Parker.  Remember to save your pull tabs for RVFEST 2012.
Although RVFEST 2010 had a better attendance (157 individuals in 80 RVs), RVFEST 2011 was filled with many more learning experiences and valuable information.  ‘Mac’ McCoy, the Fire Guy - www.macthefireguy.com  provided a Fire & Life Safety in ‘Your’ RV seminar with hands-on experience for ladies who ‘manned’ (womanned?) the fire extinguishers to fight fires that Mac started.  Many thanks are due Mac for his excellent presentation and demonstrations.
Jim and Chris Guld - www.geeksontour.com provided two seminars with much valuable information on the use of a computer: FACEBOOK – Not just for Kids and Every RVer Needs a Blog.  Jim and Chris also provided valuable information on Picasa and helped individuals with various aspects of computing and photo management.  They travel in a Gulf Stream Endura that they furnished 27 June 2011 with two beautiful, custom-designed office units built by the Amish.  I was impressed with their beauty and versatility when I saw them the next day!  They helped yours truly set up a blog: http://www.rvfest.blogspot.com/.   We thank Jim and Chris for spending the week with us and providing much valuable and useful information.  Geeks on Tour has an excellent reputation with the FMCA.
Howard Payne provided seminars on RV Weight Safety and RV Tire Safety. Howard and his wife Linda, full-timers since 3 August 2005, are partners with the RV Safety & Education Foundation (RVSEF).  Their interesting and informative Web site is: http://www.rv-dreams.com/.  They provided a RV/Truck/Car weighing service that many, including yours truly, took advantage of.  The individual wheel weights and analysis of the weighing results was very informative, e.g., telling me that as long as my tire pressures are at least 100 psi, I can safely travel to my destination!  (Over half of 1437 respondents to a survey by RVtravel.com replied that they had their RVs weighed!)  Many thanks are due Howard and Linda for their services.  They, Mac McCoy and the Gulds were at the Heartland rally just before our rally.  We are honored that stayed on even thought we only had about half the attendance of the Heartland rally.  Heartland manufactures 5th wheel RVs.
We also thank the other vendors who participated: Mike Weldy owner of Mike’s Custom Painting, Inc, Bremen, Indiana; Ken and Kathy Adams of K. A. Kemper Enterprises (Rescue Tape); Bill and Kathie Bevington representing Retama Village at Bentsen Palm; and, Dave and Jean Damon representing 303 Aerospace Protectorant.
History Professor Steven Nolt, Goshen College had an attentive audience during and after his excellent presentation: Introducing the Amish of Northern Indiana.  His knowledge of the Amish sect astounded everyone.  He is a native of the Amish area of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  His question and answer session spilled over the hour he allotted to make him late for his next class!  We give many thanks to Steven for his enlightening presentation.
Not all was dedicated to learning!  Anna Patterson, Neena and Duane Durham, Virginia Raikes and Jean Potteiger provided us with an abundance of delicious food for several dinners and many breakfasts - Jean’s homemade Chicken Tetrazzini was a big hit.  They were assisted by many volunteers who we greatly appreciate.  Without volunteers, RVFESTs are not possible!  We look forward to having volunteers for RVFEST 2012.  We had two pot-luck dinners that were thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated.  I did not hear anyone say that they did not get enough to eat at any meal! 
John and Margaret Lester, and John’s sister Ann Hemstock (from jolly-old England) led the Morning Stretch Tuesday through Saturday mornings.  We thank the three of them for providing the Morning Stretch which was enjoyed by many.  It was a pleasure to meet Ann and have her with us.   See the RVFEST BlogSpot for a photo of the ‘hams’ posing for Chris Guld who took the picture and posted it.
RVFEST 2011 entertainment was awesome and not interrupted by tornado warnings!  Tuesday evening Steve Jeffris (www.stevejeffris.com) entertained us to the delight of many.  His repertoire was extensive including many popular songs and a tribute to veterans enjoyed by all.  He sold many CD’s including See You Down The Road and Faithfully Yours to yours truly.  He was delighted to have Thursday evening’s entertainer with her parents in the audience.  They were just as delighted to hear him perform.  Steve has performed at FMCA rallies.
Wednesday evening we were pleased to have the fabulous Truth in Jazz orchestra (www.truthinjazz.com) for a repeat performance without a tornado warning and with a new leader, Steve Allen.  Steve also was delighted to have Thursday evening’s entertainer with her parents in the audience.  Steve returned Thursday evening to hear her perform.  The Jazz standards played by this orchestra were enjoyed by many, if not all, in attendance. 
I’ve been building up to Thursday evening’s entertainment, not that it was any more special than the two previous nights entertainment!  The entertainer is special: Sarah Getto was born blind with a severe cleft pallet 27 years ago.  Her bio can be read at: http://www.sarahgetto.com/bio.html. She taught herself to play the piano at the age of 3 and the violin at the age of 10!  Her parents, Pat and Mike Getto, are her agents and biggest fans.  She graduated ‘summa cum laude’ in 2007 from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a degree in music education.  She has a Masters Degree in music thanks to her mother Pat who read all of the textbook lessons to her.  Sarah is qualified to teach music! 
Sarah’s father Mike is her chauffeur, driving her Newmar RV, and her soundman, gofer, guide, narrator, lead-in, singer, accompanist and sometimes, clown on stage.  Mike reminds me of Richard Simmons, small in stature, muscular and full of energy, always moving.  However, he did tell everyone that the sound equipment is getting pretty heavy for him – he wishes Sarah would find a husband to relieve him of this task.  Sarah says: “If you want a blind date, give me a call!”  Sarah’s mother Pat handles CD sales in addition to many other tasks.
Sarah’s performance was outstanding warranting a standing ovation for her rendition of I Will Always Love You – yours truly had tears in his eyes!  She is an extremely talented musician and vocalist.  As I mentioned above, Steve Allen, leader of Truth in Jazz, returned for her performance and I believe that says a lot for Sarah and her talent.  Sarah entertained at The Rally last July at Louisville, Kentucky.  We were honored to have Laura Turley (past International Director of the Gulf Streamers International RV Club), her husband Randy and daughter Evelyn with us for dinner this evening and for Sarah’s concert.  We were honored to have Jennifer Shaw (former Membership Coordinator for the Gulf Streamers International RV Club), her husband Darren and daughters, Alexa and Trista join us Saturday evening for our farewell dinner.
Carol Hall and Nancy Miller conducted craft classes that were instructive to those who participated.  We thank Carol and Nancy for volunteering to share their talents and look forward to many others volunteering to share their talents at RVFEST 2012.  We did have a Hobbyist gathering that was a happening enjoyed by many!
Most had a unique experience Friday afternoon - a tour of the new NeXus RV (http://www.nexusrv.com/) facility at Elkhart, Indiana.  Host Richard Raikes made arrangements with NeXus owners and founders, Claude Donate and David Middleton, to have a bus pick-up us up at the fairgrounds and transport us to Elkhart for a tour of the plant with drinks, munchies, ice cream sundaes and wine (for those who stayed later or were on the second bus!) provided by NeXus.  Claude and Dave are former employees of Gulf Stream Coach, Inc.  NeXus is building Class B+ and Class C RVs, with sales direct to the public from the factory.  We thank Claude and Dave for their hospitality and we wish them success in their new business venture.  It was a pleasure to see them again and their facility.  Claude noted that RVFEST could become their orphan club!
          A Chinese Auction was ably orchestrated by Richard and Phyllis Gilkey and Rikki and Nola Jean Parks – many thanks to them for volunteering to do this.  The Auction netted $238.00 for KOA Care Camps.  Gulf Streamers KyOhWeVa Chapter voted to donate $100.00 to the KOA Care Camps, redemption of pull tabs netted $100.80 and donations added $55.00 for a grand total of $493.80 to the KOA Care Camps for children with cancer.  We thank all who participated and contributed to this worthy cause.
          Reverend Larry Parker, assisted by his wife Reverend Carol Parker, conducted the Interdenominational Worship Service Sunday morning.  They composed, printed and paid for the bulletins and would not accept payment for the costs that they incurred.  We thank them for their devotion to RVFEST and the excellent worship service. 
          We also played – cash prize bingo, card bingo and a bean bag baseball tournament complete with a stretch between innings and participants singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’.  Four teams played bean bag baseball and they were rewarded with candy bars by organizers Al and Bobbi Vormittag who also orchestrated the bingo games.  Thanks to them for making the ‘final’ event Sunday afternoon a wild, loud, boisterous event enjoyed by many.
          We missed many of you at RVFEST 2011.  We are looking forward to seeing many more enthusiastic RVers at RVFEST 2012.  Please mark your calendar now: June 18 to June 24, 2012.  It will be tough to top this year’s event!  Don’t be afraid to ask anyone who attended RVFEST 2011 or 2010 if they had a great time!  I’ll bet that the overwhelming majority will tell you that they enjoyed the rally!
          Jean and I wish you the best of everything and we send our love to all (LTA).  Thanks for supporting us and RVFEST 2010 and RVFEST 2011.  Remember to support and thank those who protect us - our military, police, fire and medical personnel!  God bless them all, America and you!

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