By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Quartzsite, Arizona – a winter stomping ground for tens of thousands of RVers. The warm, dry weather is one draw. Another, the Big Tent Show, more properly known as the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV show. Kenny King has promoted the show and seen to the “Big Top” tent for seeming ages, opening faithfully every January. But what about this coming January? With COVID-19 messing up a lot of plans, many RVers are wondering if there’ll be a show.
Here’s the news: As far as Kenny and company are concerned, the show must go on! Last January’s show was the biggest ever in terms of attendance. He estimates 150,000 passed through the doors and toured the seemingly endless lineup of products, demonstrations and info-booths. All that, while shoving corn dogs, popcorn, snow cones, and whatever else down their gullets while gabbing.
Kenny King takes an interesting view of how coronavirus – and various reactions to it – have formed what the future may hold. “With things looking like they’re going to get better one day only to then start opening up the economy – probably prematurely and obviously in a piecemeal fashion in most southern states – and then people just lost their minds and went back to their business-as-usual mode for the most part. And here we are back to square one and even worse in some areas.”
But King and his daughter, Kimmy King (the show’s co-host and heiress apparent) are ready to rock and roll. They point to the fact that Quartzsite would appear to have fewer cases of the nasty virus. Kenny points to LaPaz County (where QZ is located) and its seemingly paltry 463 cases of the virus, compared to Maricopa County (125 miles east) and its whopping 110,000+ cases. [Editor’s note: We didn’t crunch the “per capita” numbers for comparison, but remember, LaPaz County has 21,000 residents. Maricopa County is home to 4.485 MILLION, so let the reader use discernment.]
As far as Kenny and Kimmy are concerned, the show is ON. They’ve been in close contact with Quartzsite town management, and said there’ll be a few changes to enhance safety. First off, Kenny says there’ll be “mandatory face coverings.” Some folks will see that as a positive thing, as not everyone drifting into the show remembers to take care of their appearance. Other changes mean wider aisles, one way traffic only through the tent, protective barriers between exhibitors and traffic, and plenty of hand-sanitizer dispensers. All these changes have made Quartzsite officialdom happy, and they’ve given “a provisional green light.”
We say “provisional” because a lot can happen in six months. Kenny says they have “provisional plans” in place, but didn’t elaborate on them. In the end, the actual decision as to whether the Big Tent will go up and the crowds will stream through is up to the town manager. Now there’s a heavy load of responsibility – and if the decision ended up “No!” then we’d NOT want to be in his shoes!
All said, no doubt many will be making plans to attend “The 38th Annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, an event now set for Jan. 16-24, 2021, billed as ‘the largest gathering of RVs and RVers on earth.’”