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Hara Arena Items Going on the Auction Block


It’s time to get your piece of an Amateur Radio landmark — Hara Arena! Starting on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, and continuing until November 30, online auctioneer Everything But the House will be taking bids on a variety of items from the former home of Dayton Hamvention®, which took place in the Trotwood, Ohio, facility for more than 50 years. Hara’s owners, the Wampler family, had attempted for years to put Hara on a profitable plane but were unsuccessful.

“We were overwhelmed by the number, and variety, of requests we received from people hoping to get a Hara keepsake,” Hara Marketing Director Karen Wampler said in a Dayton Daily News article. “We were approached by brides who wanted a chandelier from their reception hall, concert goers who wanted a picture or backstage pass from their favorite show, [and] life-long hockey fans who wanted a Hara seat or banner.”

Hara held an “Odds and Ends Sale” in mid-October to shed what it called “an odd and eclectic assortment that includes glassware, seasonal decorations, candles, vases, tables, chairs, lockers, food service displays, office supplies, pretzel warmers, hot chocolate machines, sporting, refrigeration and catering equipment, and much more.” In late August, Hara offered all comers a chance to visit the landmark facility one last time.

The arena announced its closing in late July.

Hamvention, which has relocated to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, has attracted more than 25,000 visitors each spring and was worth millions of dollars in terms of annual economic impact for the Greater Dayton area.

All items start at a $1 bid. According to the Dayton Daily News, the auction will include “a limited number of Hara Arena and Cincinnati’s Crosley Field seats, Hara signage, photos, posters, sports and event memorabilia, sports equipment, chandeliers, catering items, tables and chairs.”

An estate sale for Ralph and Edna Wampler will run concurrently on the same auction website.

The Wampler family has owned and operated Hara Arena since its humble origins in the 1950s, when Wampler Ballarena — then a dance hall and now an exhibit hall familiar to Hamvention visitors — was built in what had been a family-owned orchard.

Over its 6-decade history, Hara Arena hosted concerts by performers that included the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead; it also was where hockey great Wayne Gretzky played his first professional hockey game.