As of last week, about 2,500 people had registered for the annual Winnebago Itasca Travelers Grand National Rally on July 21-26 on the Winnebago Industries Rally Grounds in Forest City, said Sheila Davis, public relations/investor relations manager.
The grounds opened to WIT attendees on Monday. The official opening ceremony for GNR is Sunday, July 21.
Davis said when all motor homes and towables are on the grounds, the attendance will likely be slightly higher than last year’s attendance.
Volunteers have already started preparing for the GNR, with about 75 already on the grounds this week, Davis said.
The annual GNR is a gathering of WIT club members who own Winnebago, Itasca motor homes or towables or SunnyBrook Towables. The rally features tours of the Winnebago plants, education seminars in which motor home or towable owners learn about vehicle features, driving tips and other information.
Rally attendees also get a look at the new 2014 models including new models such as the Winnebago Forza and Itasca Solei Class A Diesel motor homes. Attendees can also drive or ride in some of those new motor homes.
A variety of vendors also share products and items related to motor home travel and use.
The week also has a variety of entertainment including comedian Jan McInnis, Country singing sensations The Black Diamonds, rock ‘n roll vocal group Jay and the Americans and country music legend John Michael Montgomery.
This year’s theme is Wild West. Many activities will incorporate the theme throughout the week.
The attendees come primarily from across North America including a large contingency from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas and Florida.
WIT members can stay in specific areas designated by states or in areas designated for clubs within the WIT club, such as retired law enforcement or travelers that do not tow a vehicle when they travel in the motor home.
“We’re ready to saddle up and get rolling,” WIT General Manager Doug Formanek said in Winnebago Industries news release. “We’re in the process of getting ready for our WIT members to roll into Forest City to get reacquainted with old friends and meet some new ones as well.”
Although the GNR is July 21 to July 26, some WIT members gather in North Iowa before that week.
Some arrive to park in the grounds on July 15 while others stay in parks in Forest City or the region.
A Winnie Hawk chapter spent several days camping in Britt. The group held a chapter meeting and visited tourist sites in the Britt area before the GNR.