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NEAR-Fest Archives - Message Boards and Posting from Previous Events. => NEAR-Fest XV May 2nd and 3rd 2014 => Topic started by: W1RC on March 21, 2014, 10:41:26 PM

Title: Another One Bites the Dust! Rochester NY RaRa Hamfest Not Held This Year.....
Post by: W1RC on March 21, 2014, 10:41:26 PM
Sad to see another once-great hamfest go down the tubes...

They are saying on their Web site that they are planning a hamfest for 2015 but I'm not holding my breath.   

The RaRa (Rochester Amateur Radio Association) ( hamfest at the Monroe County Fairgrounds and Dome Arena used to be the biggest annual hamfest in the northeast.  It ran three days and the flea market was huge.  A lot of Canadians from Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto made the trek every year in mid-May.  It was officially the ARRL Western New York Convention.

I went for the first time in 1966 and just about every year after that until 2004 or so.  In the later years we used to blow off Sunday and all head to Gary N2INR's (now W2INR) house in "Sorry Excuse" for a "Rolling Rock" event.  We'd all crash out there and Sunday morning all head out for breakfast.  After that we'd head for home.

I always had fun at Rochester.  I passed my Advanced there around 1979 and bought a lot of great goodies too.  I stopped going because it was too far and the cost to get there were getting out of control.  The campground was torn down around 2006-7 to build a super Wegmans market.

I think it was around 2007 when they moved  it to a campground and made it a one-day event.  Later they moved it to the grounds of Rochester Polytecnical Institute.

But I still miss it.  Now it looks like it's gone.

I also heard that the Timonium (MD) fester is down to one day this year.

Post by: W1RC on April 09, 2014, 04:55:42 PM
Bill Marinucci, WB2GHC Ė RARA President
The RARA Board of Directors has deliberated for the last couple of months the feasibility of putting together a workable plan to have our annual hamfest in 2014. This task is not a simple one, by any means. It takes many volunteers to roll up their sleeves and take on the responsibilities of organizing, planning, and executing a host of tasks that need to happen in a timely fashion. This by far is our biggest challenge. We have struggled in getting enough capable volunteers in the past.

Without volunteers, it just canít happen. Venues are becoming hard to find and more and more expensive. Dates are not always easy to find in May and June due to graduations, weddings, shows, etc., as well as these months being vacation months. It is becoming very difficult to attract vendors to come to hamfests due to the intense competition posed by the 1-800 telephone numbers, and then there is the internet. It is a fact that most gear is now bought on line, where there is usually no sales tax and many companies offer free shipping as well. This makes it very difficult to compete locally.  Food service is not always readily available. Parking and traffic control present significant challenges, especially when spaces are needed for flea marketing. Indoor facilities are sought after by potential vendors. Costs must be controlled. Marketing and ticket sales are critical functions that need to be handled effectively, etc. You can see that this is a huge undertaking, with so many factors to be considered. Reviewing where we are currently, along with the challenges that we still face for a 2014 hamfest, the Board of Directors has voted to postpone our next hamfest until 2015. The Board has committed to begin planning the 2015 hamfest NOW, allowing sufficient time to create an outstanding event.

This decision did not come easy. The hamfest is a major financial source of income to RARA, and revenues lost by not having a hamfest are significant. We also know how our membership looks forward to this event, and we know that there will be some disappointment about this decision. Hopefully though, this may encourage others to get involved so that the 2015 hamfest will be highly successful and one of the best that RARA has put on. A handful of volunteers cannot do it all, it is simply too daunting a task to accomplish with insufficient manpower. If we are to have future hamfests, then we need more folks to get involved in putting it together. If you are interested in being on the committee for the 2015 hamfest, please email me at WB2GHC@ARRL.NET or contact any Board of Directors member.  Along with the entire Board of Directors, I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Charlie Escriva, KB2SOZ, for all of the effort that he has put into working on this yearís hamfest. He spent a considerable amount of his time visiting, reviewing, and evaluating potential venues for this event. His efforts have not been in vain however, for we now have venues that are possibilities for our 2015 event. Thank you Charlie, your efforts are much appreciated by all of us.

What happens in 2015 depends on you, please, get involved!