Last fall we announced the May 2015 NEAR-Fest would be a FREE-Fest; no admission charge. Regretfully, it had to be postponed due to a potential legal issue.
Part of our concern centered around door prizes. Having high quality, desirable door prizes has always been of great importance to us. We have probably given away more Elecraft and Flex radios than any other hamfest. We are committed to continuing this practice.
There is a fundamental difference between a door prize drawing and a raffle or lottery. The laws in the State of New Hampshire concerning lotteries and gambling are clear. In addition, the rules of the Deerfield Fair Association state there is "no gambling allowed on the Fairgrounds". Door prizes are not considered gambling or a lottery, as it is incidental to the purchase of a ticket, which is purchased for the purpose of gaining admission. If there is no primary reason for buying, or even being given, a ticket, other than taking a chance of winning something of value, it may be considered a lottery, a raffle, a game of chance or just plain gambling.
We cannot and will not take a chance on violating state law, or the D.F.A. rules regarding gambling. With this in mind, I asked several people whether door prizes were more important to them than getting in free and everyone answered in the affirmative.
Well, we have found a way to make good on our promise, however, it will occur in two parts. Here's what we have decided to do:
The event will be called "The NEAR-Ly FreeFest". Our concept is "Two NEAR-Ly FreeFests equals one FREE-Fest". When a FREE-Fest is declared we will reduce the admission ticket price by 50% to $5.00. However, parking passes, commercial exhibitor charges and camping/tent site fees will remain unchanged.
The first NEAR-Ly FreeFest will take place this coming October 16th and 17th, 2015. Future "NEAR-Ly FreeFests" will occur at our discretion.
Thank you for your understanding. The NEAR-Fest Board of Directors, our staff and volunteers, look forward to seeing you on October 16th and 17th at the first "NEAR-Ly FreeFest."
Good luck on winning a door prize. We have a really great one this time.