The tally is in, and Hamvention® 2017, at its new venue in Xenia, Ohio, attracted 29,296 attendees, official spokesperson Mike Kalter, W8CI, told ARRL. That is the second-largest reported attendance in the history of the event. Hamvention attendance peaked in 1993 at 33,669, before the 1996 change in date from April to May while it was still being held at Hara Arena. Attendance in 2016 for the show’s final year at Hara was 25,364. Hamvention relocated to the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center this year, after Hara Arena announced last summer that it was closing.
“The Hamvention is important to so many aspects of Amateur Radio,” Kalter said. “It is really up to all of us to keep this rendezvous of radio magic alive and vibrant.”
Plans already are being made for Hamvention 2018. General Chair Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, and Assistant General Chair Jack Gerbs, WB8SCT, — along with the committee leadership team, government officials and the Fair/Expo board — “have been hard at work to refine and correct the lessons learned from Hamvention 2017,” Kalter said “We are all grateful to the 657 volunteers who worked many long hours to pull this event off.”
Held May 19-21, Hamvention 2017 received largely positive reviews, despite traffic problems on opening day and heavy rain during the weekend.
Kalter expressed appreciation to everyone who turned out for Hamvention’s inaugural show in Xenia. “We were all on edge, to see if it could really happen in a successful manner,” he recounted. “Our team was positive, yet we were tense. We all made it happen! The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), the vendors, the attendees, local government, and the Fair/Expo board! Hamvention 2018 will bear exciting changes!”