Motor coaches to convene in BG

Bowling Green’s record-breaking summer calendar of events continues this week when an expected 15,000
people arrive for the Family Motor Coach Association’s 82nd international convention, the first time it
has ever been held locally.
Two years in the planning, the FMCA convention will draw up to 3,000 motor coaches from around the nation
and beyond which will park on the campus of Bowling Green State University, many around the stadium and
intramural fields, beginning this weekend. The event’s official dates are July 20 through 23.
Local residents are invited to welcome the city’s newest guests by attending the "Summer Bash"
downtown on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Wendy Stram, director of the Bowling Green Convention
& Visitors’ Bureau, said South Main Street will be closed down and a stage tent set up, along
with attraction vendors and a picnic area. Local restaurants are being encouraged to have a carry-out
menu that day so clients can purchase the food and eat it picnic-style while listening to entertainment
and looking at vendors.
Entertainment will be offered throughout the afternoon, including the band, Dangerous Cliff, with Kevin
Maynard, the city’s public utilities director. A book sale will be held at the Wood County District
Public Library.
"I really want the community to come out for that," Stram said of the Summer Bash. "We
need them to be FMCA family friendly. We want (convention guests) to be at home here. We need (local
residents) to be understanding when they’re behind an RV. Be a community partner."
She noted Bowling Green may be the first community which has sponsored a welcome event party just for
FMCA members.
Though the vast majority of RVs will arrive Friday through Sunday, up to 300 motor coaches are expected
to set up camp at the Wood County Fairgrounds starting Wednesday. Stram described those arriving early
as "worker bees from Indiana," who will help with parking and serve as volunteers as the crush
of "family members" arrives later.
The FMCA, headquartered in Cincinnati, has over 109,000 active member families who maintain close ties
among themselves through chapter rallies in addition to its two annual conventions. The FMCA has its own
convention staff which plans all the activities for the four days.
At BGSU campers will attend a myriad of seminars on a wide range of subjects related to motor coach
living, including safety, cooking, cleaning, beautifying and even RVing in Europe, along with personal
health, crafts to make and a host of technical subjects. There will be exhibitors in the Perry Field
House and RVs on display outside it. Campers will enjoy banquets and receptions, the Student Rec Center
as well as local sites in Bowling Green and Wood County.
"A lot of these family members with take extended vacations while they’re here, go to Cedar Point
and Amish country," said Stram.
The general public is welcome to attend the seminars and exhibits. Information will be made available
later in the week how local residents can register for a pass to attend daytime events. But the FMCA Web
site noted nonFMCA members are not allowed to attend the evening entertainment, which this year includes
country singer Lorrie Morgan.
Not only will downtown and other local businesses get a huge boost in business, but the local economy as
well. Stram said 2,000 hotel rooms are needed to house exhibitors who are here for the convention.
"Bowling Green, BGSU, the Wood County Fairgrounds and BGCVB were very honored to host this
convention, and its success is going to be the accumulation of all the last two years’ planning efforts
that have been going on behind the scenes," said Stram.
She noted this has been a record-setting summer for its calendar of events, including the Great Ohio
Bicycle Adventure, the FMCA convention, two new soccer tournaments, four new baseball tournaments, a
basketball event still coming and the National Construction Equipment convention in September.
Photo caption: Al Talbott walks past a row of motor homes. (Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)