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Attendance Holds Steady at Hamvention® 2018


Hamvention® marked another successful year in 2018, General Chair Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, told ARRL this week. At 28,417 visitors, Hamvention recorded its third-largest attendance ever in its second year at its still-new location in Xenia, Ohio.

“We had a slight decline in attendance, but we think people were waiting to hear about the upgrades we made, and some upgrades did not happen until the very last moment,” Cramer allowed. “Many were worried about the mud.”

The drop in attendance amounted to some 900 fewer visitors from Hamvention 2017. 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.

Cramer said other events in the Xenia-Dayton area cramped lodging availability, but Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) organizers were “very pleased with the results and comments everyone has made this year.”

Hamvention’s 2018 theme was “Amateur Radio…Serving the Community,” and the event highlighted emergency communication forums — many put on by ARRL — plus a big display of emergency communication vehicles.

This was a year of “fine tuning the event” through critique sessions with committee chairs and evaluating comments, compliments, and criticisms from first-year Xenia attendees and vendors, Cramer said.

“From all the information we have received back already this year, from guests and vendors, we believe we have been successful and are working hard to prepare for Hamvention 2019,” Cramer offered. “We expect new additions to the show and finer tuning to make sure our guests keep coming back.”

Improvements this year at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center included the use of frame tents for some activities. “These were much more stable in the wind and rain — a very big improvement,” Cramer said. “We installed asphalt millings in the Flea Market area to create roads and eliminate the mud we had last year. We will be widening and adding more asphalt millings to the roads this year.” In addition, he said, Hamvention on-site parking eliminated some of the muddier areas and halted the use of tractor-driven people movers, which were creating ruts. “We were not immune to rain, but it took less of a toll,” Cramer added.

Cramer also touted more on-site food options, expanding the variety and number of food vendors and cutting wait times. More seating was added.

Other improvements Cramer cited included:


  • More forums and a new forum room.


  • Improved parking access by moving the bus drop-off location closer to the main entrance gate.


  • More off-site parking with better signage to provide easier access.


  • A new Product Showcase to highlight new products.


Central State University opened its dorms for the event, offering inexpensive lodging that included breakfast and dinner.

“There was a shortage of rooms this year with the grand opening of the Memphis Belle Exhibit at the Museum of the Air Force,” Cramer explained, “but the Greene County and Dayton Convention Visitors Bureaus kept tabs on rooms and helped direct those who called.”

Cramer expressed his appreciation to Greene County, Xenia Township, and the City of Xenia, as well as to the nearly 800 volunteers for their assistance. “The Greene County Fair Board has been exceptional in making this our new home,” Cramer said. “We thank all who attended this year’s show and hope to see you again next year.”



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