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Reinvent the Hamfest?


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ELMER

I’m curious what people think of hamfests. Are they still an exciting outing? Would you like a different experience? Like what? Are flea markets satisfying? More conferences and lectures or fewer? Should there be a banquet? Are raffles good, bad, necessary, motivating? Free or paid?

Basically, if you had to improve hamfests writ large, what would you propose?

BTW, in my mind I’m thinking about the more regional and local hamfests, not the Hamvention/Hamcation/etc… mega events. I’m talking about your 8AM to 2PM club-organized type events.

Thoughts?

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I do miss the large local/regional hamfests.  Manufacturers, major vendors/distributors, area clubs, area activity groups, small business/family business vendors, a few classes/presentations, VE testing, and a radio flea market (and radio related, not true whatever you can haul flea market).  Unfortunately I do not see the larger entities doing smaller hamfests ever again due to online shopping, smaller businesses have to pick their travel/fest investments wisely for expected returns/sales, and clubs are having enough trouble getting people to meetings.  So I foresee the future of anything smaller than Hamvention/Hamcation/Huntsville types going away and more things online like QSO Today growing.

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ELMER
6 hours ago, KB7THL said:

I do miss the large local/regional hamfests.  Manufacturers, major vendors/distributors, area clubs, area activity groups, small business/family business vendors, a few classes/presentations, VE testing, and a radio flea market (and radio related, not true whatever you can haul flea market).  Unfortunately I do not see the larger entities doing smaller hamfests ever again due to online shopping, smaller businesses have to pick their travel/fest investments wisely for expected returns/sales, and clubs are having enough trouble getting people to meetings.  So I foresee the future of anything smaller than Hamvention/Hamcation/Huntsville types going away and more things online like QSO Today growing.

Thanks for this insightful response, Mike. Well said. In fact, in a subtle way, you’ve added a dimension to my own vision of hamfests; you’ve actually planted a seed idea in my humble inter-ear noggin 😏 And yes, I absolutely agree, that flea markets have turned into: “would you like to buy my son’s Ken doll?” Unless that Ken doll is hiding a covert HT, I don’t really want to see it. At a recent hamfest, I counted three kitchen appliances: two blenders and a toaster over. Really?

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Based on the attendees I saw at Hamvention this year and the seeming growth of more special interest activities, such as POTA and balloons and experimentation, I kind of expect even Hamvention to diminish over the next decade and see growth of more "local"/regional special interest groups and activities.  Some may have gatherings/conferences/meetups, even getting a sponsor or two within that special interest, but many doing zoom/discord type online sharing rather than in person.

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