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NEAR-Fest Official News and Information => NEAR-Fest - The Basics - What You Need to Know. => Archives => Topic started by: W1RC on January 27, 2009, 11:38:24 AM

Title: Rochester Hamfest - TWO OF THEM?????
Post by: W1RC on January 27, 2009, 11:38:24 AM
It would appear that there are TWO hamfests beinf planned for the Rochester (NY)area at the same date (May 30th 2009) and this is causing a lot of confusion.  Here's the inside scoop.

The Rochester Amateur Radio Association (RaRa) has been running the legendary Rochester Hamfest & ARRL Western New York Section Convention for a whole lot of years; as far back as I can remember.  I went to my first hamfest in 1966 at Rochester NY and I was hooked for life!  It was HUGE (the biggest hamfest in the Northeast).  The three-day event was held at the Monroe County Fairgrounds.  All manufacturers and anyone who hadanythign to do with amateur radio was represented in the Dome building.  People came from several hundred miles in all directions which included contingents from Montreal and Toronto.  Many of us camped out and had a ball.  There was also a very large flea market with plenty of goodies for everyone.  With only a very few exceptions I always went to the Rochester Hamfests.

Over the past few years the Rochester Hamfest, like many others, has gone downhill rapidly. Costs of travel have skyrocketed, attendance dropped off, and, in general, apathy seems to have set in.  From what I understand last year the flea market had to be moved elsewhere on the grounds because the usual spot was now a supermarket. 

Last November the RaRa Board of Directors made some hard decisions that cut the hamfest to only one day (Saturday May 30th) as well as moving the hamfest to a new location.  From what I understand, not everyone involved with the hamfest agreed that this was a good thing to do.  As a result there is a potentially bad situation brewing that can have devastating consequences on future events in Western New York which is causing many hamfest devotees and vendors some concern.  This e-mail message explaining the situation from the club's point of view is being circulated by Frank Schramm, WB2PYD, President of the Rochester Amateur Radio Assn Inc.  ( Frank writes:

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 09:19:47 -0500
Subject: RE: Madness at the Rochester (NY) Hamfests

Help spread the TRUTH about the Rochester Hamfest.

We need your help to clear the air. The Rochester Amateur Radio Association, Inc. (RARA) has been producing the Rochester Hamfest for the last 74 years.  For many years the Hamfest Committee Chairman was Harold Smith, K2HC.  At the November meeting of the RaRa BoD it was voted to change the venue and the time frame for the Hamfest.  Harold refused to comply and was relieved of his duties.  In defiance he refuses to cooperate and because Harold's name is associated with the original Hamfest web site, the BoD at this time does not have control of what is displayed there.  Since RARA is the parent organization of the current, and past, Hamfest Committee you can be assured that what RARA says in print and on the web site is the TRUTH.  The ARRL has already recognized the change in venue and time frame and the "New Rochester Hamfest" is the location of the Atlantic Division Convention for 2009. This can be verified at:

We realize how confusing this can be if people see Harold's postings on the internet. We have requested he remove the confusing content numerous times, each met with flat out refusal. It's disappointing that someone who has put a great deal of effort into the event in the past has taken up the position to confuse the public. This certainly demonstrates his disloyalty to the club, the event, and his fellow HAMS.

We at RaRa would greatly appreciate it if you and could use your channels of communications to inform other area HAMS of the TRUTH:

There will only be one Hamfest, not two, and The Rochester Hamfest will be held Saturday May 30th, at the Barnard Carnival Grounds. Further details are available at

Warn them that K2HC no longer has anything to do with the Rochester Hamfest and people should disregard his solicitations for ticket  sales.  Admission tickets are now only $5.00 and being sold exclusively at the gate. If anyone is still in disbelief, encourage them to contact their ARRL representative for clarification.

The 2009 Rochester Hamfest flyer can be downloaded here:

There will only be one Hamfest in Rochester.

Frank Schramm, WB2PYD

Rochester Amateur Radio Assn Inc.
POB 93333
Rochester NY 14692

The second event, calling itself the Rochester Hamfest and Technical Hobby Expo and has their own Web site.  I visited it and learned that the event is scheduled for May 29-30, 2009 at the (former) Monroe County Fairgrounds now calling itself the "Fair and Expo Center".   However when I visited their Web site again I found their link and all internal links as well are now forwarding to the "Official" RaRa Web site so the problem must have been cleared up.

This is a good thing.  Hopefully the standoff ended early enough that the RaRa Hamfest will not be affected by this foolishness.

Just to make sure I called the Fair and Expo Center.  Susan told me that there is NO hamfest scheduled there this year.  Anyone wantng to check may call her at (585) 334-4000.


MisterMike, W1RC