A Behind The Scenes look at the Quartzsite RV Show

I’m sure many of our viewers have been to or at least heard of Quartzsite, Arizona, which has an average population of about 3000 residents. That is, until winter when Quartzsite turns into a Mecca for around 1 million RVers. You heard right, about 1 million RVers migrate to this desert oasis, which turns into a unique world of its own for about 4 to 5 months each year. So, what draws so many people here? First off, it’s the normally sunny, warm weather. Then, add to the fact there are around 70 conventional RV parks in the area along with the thousands of acres of BLM land that most people choose to stay at. Keep in mind that camping on BLM land pretty well means dry camping.

So, how do so many people manage normal RV living? Well, just about everything you would need is made available. There are numerous dump stations along with locations to buy water and ice, and local food stores set up small outlets right on site. There’s also garbage pickup service and you can pretty well order anything and have it delivered right to your campsite.

A few RV dealers set up shop here during the winter and offer parts and supplies, along with maintenance when needed. There is also another large draw to the area and that is the huge “Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show” in January, which is the largest consumer RV show in the world with over a half a million visitors over its eight day span. So, how do you take this barren piece of land and turn it into such a large RV event? John DiPietro from “RV Insight” sat down with Kimi King, who manages this huge operation and had her tell us all about the show, including some facts that I’m sure will amaze you.

Kimi King: Forty-one years. This is the 41st annual show. My dad had his first show, Kenny King, in 1984. And he was a vendor at the show across the street and decided to throw up a circus tent and called it an RV show. And 41 years later, we are the largest consumer attended RV show in the world. We literally create a show out of nothing. This property is blank. It’s just bare, you know, dirt. And I say it’s almost like a fair, like a state fair meets a home show meets an RV show and maybe throw in a little bit of Burning Man without the drugs, you know, a little bit of it all. It’s just something that you have to do. It’s a must see, it’s not something you just stop in, “Hey, hon, let’s stop at Quartzsite for 20 minutes.” It’s a destination, it’s where people come and you feel a part of, you know. Canadians, East Coast, Mexico, you go through our parking lot, my late father, Kenny King, and I used to go over around and see if we could find all 50 states and different provinces in Canada to see how many come out here, but they come from everywhere. It’s typically more the East Coast coming out to get away from the weather and just come and go enjoy Quartzsite for what it is. And you have the people that come in the caravans and they camp in these large circles and it’s almost like a family. You know, you’re on this journey together to see Quartzsite to see what it’s about and on the way over here you get your stops and then you come to Quartzsite and there’s just, I don’t know, it’s–it has such a–like a soft spot in my heart. You know, I grew up here coming here with my dad. So, it’s just different.

You will not understand Quartzsite until you step foot of Quartzsite. John DiPietro: So, where can people buy tickets, and what does it cost to get in, and what does it cost to park and stuff like that? Kimi: We are free. We are free parking. John: Say that one more time. Kimi: F-R-E-E, free.

Kimi: You’re the first one in the gate. John: Some promoters hide when the people come. Kimi: I love it. John: She greets them with excitement and enthusiasm. Kimi: We did it. Forty-first annual show, my dad would be so excited. I’m so proud of my crew and everyone who helped get us here. It’s a big deal. We literally go from a lot and we create a place where we have 364 exhibitors inside, over 50 outside, 8 major food concessions, 13 active service space, and so much fun. So, we have lines probably a half mile long in all four entrances. This is the north gate, this is gonna be our busiest because it has the walk through to the other show across the street. Well, it’s not one of those places where you just spend an hour. No, you come in and it’s an experience. You come in, you have to see what’s going on, you look around, you come back, you look again, you get ice cream, you get a fish taco, and, you know, just enjoy your time. And then you go to Beer Belly’s and have a beer.

Next year’s show runs from January 18 through the 26. For more information, visit QuartzsiteRVShow.com.