Thursday, May 24th, 2012
By William Kincaid
Alumapalooza campers return to Jackson Center
  JACKSON CENTER - Two hundred Airstream trailers containing travelers from across the U.S. will converge in Jackson Center next week to celebrate all things related to the round-cornered, aluminum-skinned vehicle produced in the village since 1952.
Seminars, tours of the Airstream factory, demonstrations and many activities and events are planned for May 29 through June 3 as part of the third annual Alumapalooza.
Though camping sites have been sold-out for some time, people can purchase $70 badges on site near the Airstream factory for all Alumapalooza events, event co-organizer Rich Luhr, who also is publisher of Airstream Life magazine, said.
Alumapalooza chiefly offers Airstream enthusiast - many of whom love to travel, meet new people and see new places - an opportunity to see the birthplace of their beloved travel trailers, described by the magazine as "part magic carpet, part romantic hideaway, part family gathering spot."
"We have a lot of social gatherings," Luhr said. "It's really more of a fun thing."
Participants will swap travel stories, learn more about Airstreams and generally enjoy fellowship through camping, happy hours and musical entertainment. The event is largely run by volunteers. Attendees come from as far as California and Maine. Luhr said.
"We put on about 20 seminars," he said, citing examples as Dutch oven cooking, vintage restoration and maintenance.
The overarching philosophy of Alumapalooza is simply celebration, Luhr said.
Performing will be Hymn for Her, described as a musical duo that mixes thrashing country rock, acid blues and fuzzed out Americana, at 8 p.m. Friday and Antsy McClain & The Trailer Park Troubadours at 8 p.m. Saturday.
"Jackson Center is great," said Luhr, who will travel to the event from the magazine headquarters in Green Cove Springs, Fla. "It's nice to go to a small town."
According to Airstream, the company is the oldest manufacturer of recreational vehicles in the U.S. and is the most commonly recognized aluminum trailer in the world.
"When Airstream began, there were fewer than 48 trailer manufacturers that were registered for business," its website says. "Five years later, nearly 400 companies squared off against each other. Today, of those 400 companies, only Airstream remains."
More than 60 percent of all Airstreams built are still traveling on highways. The average Airstream takes about 280 human hours to build, according to the company.
Airstream employs 350 people at its facility in Jackson Center.
For more information, visit alumapalooza.com.
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