Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) Treasurer and Hamvention® spokesperson Mike Kalter, W8CI, said this week that everything is falling into place for “a five-star event” at Hamvention’s new venue at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio, May 19-21.
“We’re counting down the hours,” Kalter told DX Engineering’s Tim Duffy, K3LR, in a May 2 video, produced by DX Engineering. The theme for Hamvention 2017 is “Same friends, new home.”
Kalter revealed to Duffy that after Hara Arena announced it would be closing last year, the Hamvention Organizing Committee pondered not staging a show at all in 2017. “We had thought we might not even have the event for another year and take more time and get it all set,” Kalter said, “but our team was determined to do this.”
The flea market at the new venue turned out to be “one of our more difficult areas,” Kalter said. The Hamvention flea market will have the same number of booth spaces as in 2016. “It’s looking like it will sell out, but we’re not there yet,” he told Duffy. Inside exhibitor booth space is in very good shape, he noted.
Kalter said he does not anticipate any problems with parking, explaining that free on- and off-site parking will be available, with shuttle bus service to and from Hamvention for off-site lots. Maps now are online to help visitors to navigate what will be unfamiliar territory for most.
Kalter also told Duffy that he’s expecting a bumper crop of attendees at Hamvention 2017. “The way ticket sales are going, and with most of the hotel/motel space sold out by mid-February…we’re expecting between 30,000 and 35,000 people,” he said. It’s still possible to buy tickets online through May 17 and pick them up at the show.
Kalter said there was a lot of demand for forums this year, and Hamvention will be unable to accommodate any repeat sessions. Duffy noted that 2017 will mark his 35th year moderating the antenna forum.
Kalter also said the Hamvention organizers made a commitment to better food. “I think all of us at Hamvention have been a little disappointed in the food that was there,” he said. “So we have made a concerted effort.” A beer garden on site will be selling a commemorative stein to note the very first Hamvention in Xenia.
“We’re going to learn a lot this year,” Kalter said, anticipating a lot of input from visitors, and he credited DX Engineering and other vendors for offering their constructive advice in the run-up to the show. Some 600 DARA volunteers are involved in making Hamvention 2017 happen.
“My hat’s off to the whole team,” Kalter said. “It’s a huge undertaking.”