If you intend on camping or tenting on the Fairgrounds please read and understand the following:
For many years all Fairgrounds administrators have traditionally collected fees from people staying overnight on their grounds separately from the event admission fees. This was also the case with both the Rochester and Hopkinton fairgrounds back in the Hosstraders days. They all do it. For several years the fees have remained constant at $30.00 a night. This was also the case at NEAR-Fest I when one of the Fair Association Directors showed up and requested payment from those in motorhomes and campers. It caused a great deal of confusion and dissatisfaction among those who were affected. Those of you who were there may recall that we were only allowed to stay overnight on the grounds Friday night. We didn't even know that someone from the Fair Committee was going to visit each trailer/camper to collect fees. In fact NEAR-Fest had to pay some of the fees because the Fair person couldn’t find the owners of several campers they found inside the grounds. It wasn’t a good situation and we vowed to fix it.
After the first NEAR-Fest was over I began discussions for NEAR-Fest II (October 2007) and included negotiations for a "flat rate" system for paying for the overnight electricity usage. This is considerable as many overnighters use electric heaters that consume 1500 Watts of energy and are on for many hours. As a result we were able to secure the right to stay overnight (at a cost of $1,000.00 per night) and we were able to use the little campground adjacent to the parking lot on Thursday nights. This added $2,000.00 to our costs for using the Fairgrounds .
With this in place we were now able to set our own camping fees which were $20.00 a night for Thursday and $10.00 for Friday which was a bargain. Of course we never recovered the entire $2,000.00 “flat rate” we paid out and in essence NEAR-Fest subsidized the campers fees for nine hamfests. However in 2011 I was informed that the Board of Directors wanted to implement a uniform system of camping fees for anyone staying on the grounds overnight and that the “flat rate” system would no longer be viable. At some point between the summer of 2007 and 2011 the Fair Committee added an overnight fee for those camping in tents as well. So now anyone who sets up a tent will be subject to an overnight fee as well. Fortunately the fee for “tenters” is lower than it is for a “camper”.
A camper is defined as follows: “Recreational Vehicles, aka RVs, campers, motor homes, converted motor coaches & buses, etc; vehicles whose primary purpose is for recreational living or in which one may sleep. Thus, a conversion van would be subject to the camping fee whereas a cargo van with a sleeping bag would not. The Fair Association provides the actual overnight camping passes which NEAR-Fest sells on their behalf when vehicles enter the grounds. We return all unsold passes at the end of the event.
It is important to understand how the amount we must pay is calculated and that none of this money collected goes to NEAR-Fest. The Fair Association representative tours the grounds once each evening and counts the campers/tent sites for which we are responsible. It doesn't matter if a pass is displayed; if it fits the parameter it is counted (and we have to pay for it regardless). A NEAR-Fest Director always accompanies the rep and if a counted camper/tent does not display the appropriate pass he will attempt to collect payment. If no one is present an invoice is left with instructions to bring it to the Command Center trailer with payment. Failure to comply will result in that vehicle being barred from the grounds in the future.
The fee schedule is as follows:
Campers (as defined above): $30.00 per night
Tenters $15.00 per night
This includes electricity and water hookups.
Please note that there have been NO INCREASES to these fees since we have been at Deerfield and that was in 2007!
A representative of the Deerfield Fair Association will be on the grounds checking motorhomes, trailers, campers and tent sites for the appropriate passes. If you do not have one clearly displayed we WILL want to speak with you and request payment in which case you will either display your pass or pay up without argument or discussion. If you sleep in your car or in the back of a cargo van or utility trailer you will not be required to pay an overnight fee. However if you plug in to an electric outlet to power a heater or other electrical devices you run the risk of being assessed a $15.00 charge by the Fair Association representative. You MAY be awakened unceremoniously and payment requested. If you plan on plugging in your electric heater you are well advised to purchase a $15.00 tenting pass and you need not be concerned about being disturbed – you will be covered.
If you find the fees excessive please DO NOT COMPLAIN to the campground staff who are volunteers helping us run this event or to us either. You can "vote with your wallet" and not camp overnight. You may still attend the 'fester as camping is an optional activity. If enough people don't camp the Fair Association will surely take notice as their revenue will be reduced and the choice will be theirs to reduce the rates or not. This is sometching over which we have no control and the rates are not a matter which we will even attempt to negotiate with them.