[UPDATED [email protected] UTC] “X” marks the spot! Greene County officials announced today that Hamvention® will be moving to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio, after 52 years at Hara Arena, news outlets report. That’s about 16 miles east of Dayton center off US Route 35 (see map).
Hara Arena announced last week that it would be closing, and Hamvention indicated that it soon would be announcing its back-up plan for a new venue in the Dayton area.
“We have spent many hours over the last few years evaluating possible locations and have found one in the area we believe will be a great new home!” Hamvention said on July 29. “We all believe this new venue will be a spectacular place to hold our beloved event,” Cramer said. “Please rest assured we will have the event on the same weekend and, since it will be in the region, the current accommodations and outside events already planned for Hamvention 2017 should not be affected.”
Hamvention chief spokesman and board member Mike Kalter, W8CI, told ARRL that announcement of the new venue came a bit sooner than he’d anticipated last week.
“The key thing is that we plan to have a 5-star event,” he said of Hamvention 2017. “We’ll put a lot of time and energy into it.”
The move to Xenia could prove to be a huge financial bonanza for the city and Greene County. Hamvention typically has meant millions of dollars to the Dayton/Montgomery County area, and some of that benefit could migrate eastward down US 35. Kalter conceded that the new venue in Greene County is a slightly longer drive from Dayton City Center than it was to Hara Arena, but he believes it will be worth the trip.
“Montgomery County didn’t have anything for us,” he said. “We looked exhaustively. We’ve known this is what we’d do for about a month — if Hara Arena would no longer be available.”
And the flea market at the new site? “Our plan is to have a much better flea market,” Kalter said. “We have two or three different options, but we think people are really going to like it.”
He said the entire fairgrounds facility was rebuilt several years ago after it was destroyed by a tornado, so the buildings are newer than Hara, which was built in the 1950s. He said there will be opportunities to bring in campers — with 30 A service, water, and sewer available.
Kalter believes the change in venue in and of itself will be a big incentive for a lot of people who may be just thinking about attending Hamvention 2017 right now. “We expect next year to be a big year,” he said. “We expect a lot of people to come to see what it’s like.”