Outdoors event a hit with crowds
SOME people were there to buy $100 tents, while others were investing in luxurious caravans, but everyone was looking to spend.
Australian Events director Bob Carroll said the packed Mackay Showgrounds at the weekend's Caravan, Camping and Boating Expo was an indication consumer confidence was surging.
"I think the confidence coming from the election has inspired people," he said.
"It's been in the doldrums for a long time, and not just here, it's been across the whole of Queensland.
"But people in Mackay are resilient; they can roll with the punches and are looking to move forward."
He was anticipating that 10,000 people would head through the showground gates to enjoy the three-day expo, plus Spring Home Show.
On Saturday the hot weather sent drips of ice-cream running down children's arms, but they didn't seem to care. There was a relaxed atmosphere at the event, and hefty purchases were being made.
While mums and dads talked dollars before signing the deal on caravan trailers, the kids fought over who would have the top bunk.
However, caravans were not the only thing on offer.
From displays selling kayaks and spas to a motorcycle stunt show, there was more than enough to keep everyone busy.
The newly revamped showgrounds were looking good, and had improved since the last time the expo was in town, Mr Carroll said.
"They have done a marvellous job here," he said.
"Mackay (residents) love their showgrounds and they support events that are held here."
RETAILING at just over $1000, motorised kayaks are a cheap and easy way to get out on the water.
Koastal Kayak's David Treloar said he had received a lot of interest from people in Mackay about this particular model of vessel.
"It's probably about 50% people looking to just get out on the water, and 50% of people looking to fish from them," he said.
The kayak is fitted with rod racks, has a four-stroke motor and only weighs 39kg.
GREY nomads are turning green. Coromal Caravans' Josh Mullock said all of their display models were equipped to offer solar power.
"Solar has become more affordable, and people want to free camp as much as they can," he said. Most caravan solar energy systems were strong enough to power the whole unit, bar the air-conditioners, he said.
"This means people can camp at a free camp, rather than pay $60-$100 at a caravan site," he said.
KEN James, who achieved a measure of fame as a star in the TV show Skippy, demonstrated new camping and caravanning cooking techniques. He was there to spruik the nifty Ecopot.
"People think this product is ideal for caravanning and camping, but it's ideal for anyone who has a busy lifestyle," he said. The Ecopot can cook a corned beef in three hours and is completely portable.
He also made a Tuscan curry and bread and butter pudding during the display.