The tally is in, and Hamvention 2017, at its new venue in Xenia, Ohio, attracted 29,296 attendees, official spokesperson Mike Kalter, W8CI, told the 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. Hamvention General Chair Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, called 2017 “a most successful year.”
“We knew this would be a big year but this was even beyond our expectations,” Cramer said. “The challenge was great to reinvent Hamvention at a new venue in a very short time period. From all the emails, letters, and calls I have received over the last few weeks, we have accomplished it successfully.” Cramer expressed appreciation for all constructive criticisms and said each idea is being evaluated. Held May 19-21, Hamvention 2017 has received largely positive reviews, despite traffic problems on opening day and heavy rain during the weekend.
“We all recognize the traffic, rain, mud, and parking issues, but part of those issues were corrected even before show weekend was over,” Cramer said. “Other issues are being worked on already for next year’s show.” He and Kalter said the Hamvention Committee has joined Greene County, municipal officials, and the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center Advisory Board in addressing improvements for 2018. Kalter and Cramer also thanked the 657 volunteers who put in long hours to make Hamvention 2017 a reality. The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) sponsors Hamvention.
“We can’t control the rain but we promise there will not be some of the other issues next year,” Cramer said. “There may even be some new surprises in store,” he added, pointing out that Hamvention has 3 more months to plan for the 2018 event than it did for this year’s.
“We thank all who came to the show this first year in Greene County and hope to see you again next year,” Cramer concluded. “For those that thought they would wait and see how we did, sorry you missed the show but look forward to seeing you next year. Our rough edges will be smoothed out for you by then.”