Thanks for your suggestion. However here are a few of the reasons why we will not change how we run now. Also, the "considered harmful" isn't a very good description of our start time considering that our spring event this year had the highest attendance since Near-Fest was founded!
Under the suggested plan, we would only have time for two technical presentations as the "Ham Jam" uses the meeting room Friday night. There are only two presentations available with availability of the meeting room on Saturday. We start the presentations 90 minutes after the gate opens to give a chance for the people selling to get in and set up. Many of them attend these sessions. We consider these presentations an important part of the fest and are looking into ways to have even more of them scheduled during the event.
The commercial vendors don't want to sell at night. Most of them want to get dinner and sleep after what for many of them is a long trip up to NH. If we tell them that they will have only 3 or 4 hours of selling time Friday, many will not attend the event. A lot of people come up to buy from the commercial vendors and with fewer of them we will have fewer attendees. We need the revenue from the commercial vendors to run the event.
Yes some people can not come on Friday but that is what it is. Most people love the event enough to use a vacation day to attend Friday. (Keep in mind that many of us that run the event use two vacation days twice a year, nearly a week of vacation time, to run the event, not to mention additional time traveling to other events to man exhibit booths at other fleas and festers promoting Near-Fest Contrary to the persistant rumors that never die, we do not get paid!)
These are but a few of the reasons the times will not change for the for seeable future. We run Near Fest because we love the event, people, location, and hope that we are able to do so for as long as possible.
Near-Fest is not Hosstraders. It has many similar aspects but it is not a re-branded Hosstraders. For those of you who can simply just not attend Friday and dislike what you have on Saturday enough that you prefer not to attend Near-Fest at all, I would suggest the Boxboro Convention, www.boxboro.org
, a Friday through Sunday event with most things happening later Friday into the weekend. Near-Fest does not consider Boxboro a competitive event to ours. It's quite the opposite, we consider it an event that is complementary to Near-Fest. Also Boxboro is now an annual event, not every two years as was is the past. Some of the same people who run Nearfest also run Boxboro.
If neither event works for you, start up another event somewhere with days and times that will work for what you see your target market of attendees. If you do so, you can count on me being one of your attendees! Just don't be silly and plan it for a date that has another Hamfest/flea going on. You all are welcome to continue this thread but the days and times will not change.
John Flood KB1FQG
Managing Director Near-Fest