32nd East Texas Outdoor Expo rolls into Longview

32nd East Texas Outdoor Expo rolls into Longview

LONGVIEW (KYTX) - For the 32nd year, the largest boat and travel expo east of I-35 is in Longview this weekend. Vendors say it's family-friendly fun, but a critical event for annual boat and RV sales.

Twelve-year-old Harper Will and his dad drove up from the woodlands to visit family -- so to pass some free time -- they joined hundreds of people at Maude Cobb Activity Complex for the East Texas Outdoor Expo.

"We've been just looking around. It's pretty cool around here," Will said.

Twenty-eight boat, travel and outdoor vendors and agencies attracted people from across eastern Texas to Longview, all taking a gander at the newest models of RVs, pontoons, and outdoor recreation equipment - all with their own bells and whistles, designed to enhance your time outdoors.

"We've seen some increase in sales," says David Hayes owns Hayes RV Center in Longview. "The R-V industry is typically a leader out of economic slow time, and we're seeing that happen."

That's the news from Statistical Surveys -- which measures sales in the outdoor recreation industry. In November, sales of motorized RVs were up 34 percent industry wide over November 2012. And last month's boat sales increased 16 percent compared to December 2012.

"January is considered the prime season for outdoor shows, because it sets the stage for the rest of the year," Hayes says.

So boat and RV dealers offer markdowns, hoping to lure spectators into buyers.

"Expose people to R-Vs that otherwise wouldn't visit our location," Hayes said, "and pique their interest in perhaps owning an R-V."

It helps to have food vendors and entertainment like Yogi the Bear to attract the whole family. But Harper was focused on the outdoors.

"We were looking at some fly-fishing stuff," he said. "I've been fly fishing with my dad."

The expo continues Sunday from noon until 5.


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