Author Topic: Meeting with Fair Association Board of Directors on August 14th 2008  (Read 3690 times)

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Offline W1RC

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I had my anticipated meeting with the Fair Association Board of Directors last week.  If you want to know the reason I have been summoned to their meeting please read this article posted earlier.

This was a critical meeting for the future of NEAR-Fest!  I was called on the carpet, so to speak to answer for the sins and transgressions of the very small number of offenders because I am the one who negotiates with the Board for use of the Fairgrounds and I am the one who signs the contract.

I must say that I was treated with the greatest of respect and deference but it was apparent to see that they were not at all happy with us this time.  It was mentioned that in May NEAR-Fest presented the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord with a "ham station" and that they were grateful for our generosity.  However it was impressed on me that their worst nightmare is fire and that anyone who poses a risk of starting one even accidentally is in big trouble.

The smoking in the buildings is of utmost concern to them as well as outdoor cooking.  They feel that both present serious fire hazards to the wooden buildings inside the Fairgrounds, many of which are over 100 years old.  There was some discussion of prohibiting all outdoor cooking whatsoever and even a hint that perhaps overnight camping might also not be permitted in the Fairgrounds itself.  These blanket prohibitions, drastic as they are, would be a simple solution to the problem from the Board's perspective.  Although I was reassured that if they decided that we could not camp overnight in the Fairgrounds itself we could use the campgrounds just adjacent to the parking lots since there are no buildings that could catch fire.

I presented the Board with our proactive plan to address the fire threat which was drafted with the help of one of our regular attendees who is a retired firefighter and worked as a Fire Prevention officer who was present with me at the meeting.  I also promised that we would increase our vigilance and that any offenders would be dealt with quickly and severely.  I distributed copies of this document and one was given to each of the Board members for their consideration.

They thanked us for coming and said they would discuss the matter and reach a decision "very soon".  Hopefully they will find the time before the Fair at the end of September as they are obviously very focused on preparing for it.  NEAR-Fest IV is only 11 days after the Fair closes.

I have no idea of what they will decide but I believe that the very future of NEAR-Fest is at stake.  It will be bad enough if we are not allowed any outdoor cooking but should we lose the privilege of camping inside the Fairgrounds on Friday night the hamfest will be seriously impacted.  To my way of thinking it will never be the same again. 

I am being positive because I know I am dealing with reasonable people whose only interest is the security of the Fairgrounds they are entrusted by the community to protect.  So let's not react negatively and change any plans we are making.  I am hoping that the good relations we fostered with them will see us through this rough spot.  However if they give us a second chance I will assure them that it will never happen again.

Keep your fingers crossed.  I will let you know what they decide as soon as I am advised.


MisterMike, W1RC

The one ultimately responsible and answerable to the Fair Association for anything that happens in the 48 hours we occupy the grounds.