GNR Preview: 7 Fun Things to Expect at the 2021 Grand National Rally

GNR Preview: 7 Fun Things to Expect at the 2021 Grand National Rally
A few reasons why Winnebago’s GNR is such a special event!
By: Amy Burkert

We are excited to announce that Winnebago’s Grand National Rally is back in 2021! While there will be some adjustments to how we have done things in the past to follow COVID safety guidelines, there are still plenty of familiar favorites as well as some new twists on activities you love. We asked our friend and long-time GNR attendee Amy Burkert to share some of the top things to look forward to!

Who doesn’t love a family reunion?! It’s a time to re-establish old friendships, make new connections, and share our stories. Something we are all craving even more than ever! Now, imagine a family reunion with all of that, plus spectacular entertainment, top-notch education, and inspiration for your future travels. That’s what you’ll find at Winnebago’s family reunion - the Grand National Rally!

This year, GNR kicks off the week of July 25th. Winnebago owners from near and far will gather in Forest City, IA, for the 51st Grand National Rally to celebrate the spirit of Boundless Adventure. All of the festivities will revolve around this year’s theme, Road Trip to Hawaii! Pack your grass skirt and start working on your hula dancing because this is a luau you’re not going to want to miss!

If you’re new to the Winnebago family or haven’t attended GNR in the past, you might be wondering what to expect at Rally. Here are just a few of the things that make this event so special:

7 Reasons GNR is Such a Special Event

1. RV Product Display 

A favorite of GNR attendees, the RV product display will be open the entire week of GNR with members of the Winnebago team available to answer questions.

Curious about this year’s new features and floorplans? Have questions that only someone deeply familiar with Winnebago RVs can answer? Wondering if it’s time to move to a larger or smaller rig? This is your chance to see a variety of floorplans and decor combinations side-by-side! And the sales team is always happy to chat about the updates and new technologies being incorporated into this year’s models. 

Since the product display is open daily throughout the rally, there’s plenty of time to revisit your favorites, compare options, and get insights from the experts.

2. Seriously Helpful Seminars

Whether you’re new to RVing or have been doing it for years, there’s always more to know. Every day at the rally, you can learn about the inner workings of your RV’s systems. From the chassis and tires to the water heater and refrigerator, representatives from the manufacturers are there to pass on tips and information that will help you extend the life and comfort of your RV.

But there’s so much more to RVing than maintaining your rig! So, you’ll also find seminars to inspire your travels, help keep you healthy and safe, and allow you to brainstorm future RV improvements with Winnebago’s product development team.

Many vendors also have a stall in Friendship Hall, so you have more opportunities to ask your questions and sign up for installations with them while at Rally.

3. Video Factory Tour Sessions with the Experts

During GNR, video factory tour sessions will be held on rally grounds with factory experts on hand to answer questions. This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with the Winnebago team and see the behind-the-scenes process of how your RV (or dream RV) is made. 

Winnebago’s factory tour is a favorite of GNR attendees, but due to COVID protocols, Winnebago cannot bring guests into the plants for in-person tours this year. However, the in-depth video tours will still share everything you could need to know about how your motorhome or towable is built. The video tours will include all of the highlights from the traditional tour, but with an even closer view of the process. This up-close perspective and access to the experts during each session offers a unique new factory tour experience not offered before.

You’ll see the chassis prep and metal stamping division, plastics facility, sawmill and cabinet shop, and Stitchcraft (where all the soft goods are created). Then, watch it all come together on the three 1,032-ft assembly lines. You’ll see RVs creeping forward at 21 inches per minute, while workers install flooring, fixtures, sidewalls, cabinets, and electrical components.

In addition to the classic tour highlights above, you will also be able to get more up-close views of the different components and features being added to each RV, plus other steps not seen in the traditional tour! 

4. Outstanding Nightly Entertainment

One challenge is that you’ll want to plan your schedule to ensure you save enough energy for the fantastic performers that grace the stage every evening. 

Past favorites, like the Polka Band on Row Party Night, may look a little different this year, but we know you’ll still have a great time celebrating and connecting with other RVers and Winnebago staff!

5. Sign Up for Service

What better place to have your Winnebago serviced than at the plant that made it?! You won’t find more knowledgeable techs or better access to parts than at the Winnebago Factory Service Center. 

Customer service doesn’t take any appointments during GNR; instead, they welcome customers on a first-come, first-served basis. They work extended hours to try to accommodate everyone, but if you’re interested in having your RV serviced during the rally, it’s best to sign up as soon as you’re settled. 

6. The Dog Park

The off-leash dog park was a new addition to the rally grounds in 2019 and quickly became a favorite. Not only does it give pups a lovely place to run and play - it’s a terrific spot to meet new human friends! 

Amy and her husband, Rod, run the website GoPetFriendly.com, so they are always looking for great places for dogs to hang. Look for them at GNR with their pup, Myles!

7. Opportunities to Volunteer

When we gather to share the abundant gifts of GNR, it’s important to also give back. Each year, the Red Cross hosts a blood drive on the rally grounds, where your contribution can literally save a life. 

You can also share your time by signing up for one of the hundreds of volunteer positions that make Winnebago’s Grand National Rally possible. The best part of GNR is meeting Winnebago owners from all over the country, and a great way to do that is by volunteering – from being a conductor on the people mover to assisting guests at the visitor’s center, opportunities to connect with other owners and Winnebago staff abound! When you register, just look for the option to sign up as a volunteer. 

No matter what your availability is, there’s always an opportunity to help out. So, if you find yourself with a free hour at Rally and a desire to volunteer, it’s not too late. Just ask a member of the Winnebago team how you can join in. 

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We hope this list of GNR highlights gives you an idea of how special this event is. But, until you’ve watched the sunset over the rally grounds, it’s difficult to imagine all the joys of GNR. We can’t wait to see you there for the big Winnebago ‘Welcome Home!’

Registration is open, so sign up now and tell your friends. Then start working on your Mai Tai recipe!

P.S. Wondering how Winnebago will make this a COVID-safe event?

In order to ensure the health and safety of guests, vendors, and employees at the 2021 Grand National Rally, Winnebago will be following the COVID-19 guidelines established by the CDC, state and local health departments, or other government agencies, as well as Winnebago Industries protocols. The team actively monitors potential safety and security concerns globally, including COVID-19, through official sources such as the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other relevant sources. These protocols will be monitored and adjusted in relation to guidelines in place during the event in July 2021. Protocol will be clearly communicated on the GNR Grounds – be prepared to possibly wear a mask in indoor spaces. Emergency medical services will also be in place, as in years past at the GNR. The well-being of everyone is Winnebago’s top priority.

Comments

User commented on May 27, 2021 3:34 PM
This will be our first GNR. Have no clue of what to do or when do we get in?? Lots of questions. Pat & Ken Hendry.
User commented on June 3, 2021 10:39 PM
Who has been scheduled for the entertainment for the grandstands?
User commented on June 30, 2021 4:39 PM
What vendors are having seminars during the Rally?
User commented on July 8, 2021 6:08 AM
We are signed up trying to find out about handicap parking. Husband is 100 disability. Can walk but. Not far. Any special parking place for us? [email protected] 401 639 4072. Thank you. Registration under Robin Sylvester