Getting There, Getting Parked, Getting Started
We are thrilled that you’ll be joining us for this great event and hope that you are excited to be joining thousands of other like-minded RVers in Gillette. The information below will help guide you through your first international convention and provide tips you might only learn through experience.
Before Departing For Gillette...
Review the contents in your Confirmation Packet. Make sure you received two parking credentials (Parking card and Date of Entry card), your First Timer window placard, and name badges for those attending. If you received incorrect credentials or there is a problem with your badges, contact the Events Department at (800) 543-3622.
Read the Confirmation Guide included in your confirmation packet. This booklet includes information that will make for a worry-free journey to the grounds and provide a general idea of what to expect when you arrive, where to place your coach credentials in the windshield, etc.
Visit FMCA.com for information regarding the event. Beginning several months prior and leading up to the event, the site will be updated with stories about things to do in the Gillette area, as well as more event-specific information, such as off-site tours that will be available, the featured entertainment slated, event and seminar schedules, and a list of vendors.
You’ll have the opportunity to make lots of new friends at the event. But why not invite other RV-owning friends to register and join in the fun. By coming with others you know, you’ll be able to share the experience with friends with whom you are familiar and comfortable.
Before heading to Gillette or as you near the site, empty your gray and black holding tanks and fill your freshwater tank. A dump station and fresh water will be available on site, and septic and water service from a contracted company will be available for a fee if you need the service(s). But you’ll find it will be much easier once you arrive if you don’t have to worry about emptying and/or filling these tanks.
Arriving In Gillette
Your parking credentials will indicate the type of parking you chose when you registered. Follow the directions included in the Confirmation Packet to get to your parking area. The Holding Area is where you can pick up Will Call credentials or wait for friends with whom you would like to park.
Prior to arrival, make sure your parking credentials are affixed to your windshield so the Parking Team volunteers can quickly identify the type of parking you requested.
Upon arrival, if you have a towed vehicle (car), please unhook it and have your co-pilot or another member of your party drive it separately so as not to hold up the parking operation once you arrive at your parking site. Better yet, stop outside of the grounds to unhook. This will allow you to jump right into the parking queue.
Follow the Parking Team volunteer to your spot and park as directed. If there’s a problem, have it resolved after you are parked, so as to allow the parking operation to flow smoothly. If you believe you’ve been parked in an incorrect area, find one of the Parking Team volunteers, and calmly discuss your situation. If the issue cannot be resolved in the parking area, ask to be taken to the Information Center to speak with someone at the information/registration desk.
Once parked and settled in, complete the Locator Card included in your Confirmation Packet. Make sure to include the location (Lot & Street number) and your cell phone number on the card. Welcome Team members in the parking lots will collect the cards and distribute Welcome Bags that will include the event program and other helpful information. Or bring your card to the Information Center.
The event program includes all the information needed to navigate the convention. Perhaps the most important part for a first-time attendee is the Grounds Services section, which provides nuts-and-bolts information about the event. Many questions you might have upon arrival will likely be answered in this section. The program also includes the schedule of events; descriptions for the seminars; a list of vendors and where they can be located; and much more. An electronic version of the program will be available on FMCA.com several weeks prior to the event for early planning purposes. This excellent resource is searchable and it can be downloaded to your device or viewed online.
For many, including convention veterans, one of the most difficult parts of the experience is figuring out where seminar rooms and activity areas are located. Included in your Welcome Bag will be two fold-out grounds maps. Use the map to familiarize yourself with the grounds. Since the majority of attendees are parked a day or two before the event starts, you might find it helpful to tour the grounds to orient yourself with the locations of the various activity areas. Also, make use of the trams system to get from the parking lots into the main activity areas. If you have a bike, bring it. It’s the best way to get around.
As you review the schedule, you may be overwhelmed with the number of activities taking place during the event. You will want to do it all; resist that temptation. It’s impossible. With more than 100 seminars scheduled, a large selection of motorhomes to look through, a vast array of products to check out in the exhibit hall, entertainment, social gatherings, and time spent enjoying the company of other attendees, you’ll find that your days will disappear quickly. So as you review the schedule, highlight those activities that mean the most to you and create your own personal list of “things to do.” This will help you stay on track and assure that you do not miss a seminar or activity that may have drawn you to Indianapolis in the first place.
The day before the event begins, there will be a First-Timer’s Orientation seminar. During this session, you will receive a tutorial on attending an FMCA Convention and RV Expo for the first time. There’s so much to see and do during one of these shows, it’s impossible for anyone to squeeze it all into his or her schedule. During this session you’ll receive tips and advice about the activities you should focus on and how to use your time most efficiently.
Gillette Ask The Events Team Questions & Answers Session (video)
In April, Doug Uhlenbrock, Director of Events, and Barb Feiler, Events Manager, will host the first of three Facebook Live video sessions during which they will answer questions from those who are planning to attend the FMCA convention in Gillette. These informal informational videos will be recorded and posted on this site for others to watch. The dates of these sessions are:
Much of what a first-timer needs to know can only be gained through experience. But gaining that experience often results in missed activities, aimless wandering, and daily headaches. To help first-timers become savvy convention attendees without the first-time travails, FMCA will enlist the help of veteran convention-goers to pass along the knowledge they've absorbed while attending FMCA events. These mentors can be identified by the rectangular yellow buttons they will be wearing throughout the event. If you have questions, you’re encouraged to ask a mentor who will be happy to help. Members interested in becoming a first-time attendee mentor should contact the Events Department at (800) 543-3622 to sign up.