XENIA — Hamvention’s imminent impact to Greene County is expected to have lingering effects, according to county officials.
For three days, “hams” from around the world — approximately 30,000 of them — will visit the Greene County Fairgrounds for Hamvention.
“Hamvention is huge for [our county],” Greene County Commissioner Alan Anderson said of the event that will be held Friday-Sunday, May 19-21. “This is an opportunity to expose people from all over the world to Greene County.”
But, if that many attendees are visiting the fairgrounds, that also means something else: They will also be driving, eating, sleeping and shopping in Greene County.
“As you can imagine, doubling the population of our area for three days has both positive and negative effects,” Alan Stock, Xenia Township Administrator said.
With all Greene County hotel rooms and all 96 campsites on the fairgrounds reportedly booked full, there is no doubt it is going to be a crowded weekend in the county.
But a crowded county means more revenue — from visitors sleeping in county hotels, eating at county restaurants and purchasing goods from county stores.
Anderson and Stock name this a positive for the extended area, along with the changes Hamvention has brought to the fairgrounds in advance, including doubling overnight camping capacity and upgrading the facility’s electrical and data networks.
According to Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson, officials estimate the economic impact of Hamvention could be $14 million.
“It’s an event like none other,” Huddleson said.
A more accurate number will be available after the event, he added.
“It’s clearly good for the county,” Jim Simpson, Dayton Amateur Radio Association trustee said. “It will create millions of dollars of revenue directly and indirectly.”
Hamvention officials, after announcing the re-location of Hamvention from Trotwood’s Hara Arena to the fairgrounds last August, also reported that the event has brought an estimated $15-$17 million annually into the regional economy.
Besides the immediate effects that Hamvention will have on the county, there will be lasting effects, too.
Hamvention officials have already signed a three-year contract with the fairgrounds.
“We’re glad that Hamvention has cemented this as a long-term relationship. All the investments that have been made are not just for this year but for multiple years. We look forward to a fifty-plus year relationship with them that they had with Hara Arena,” Huddleson said.
The partnership has involved not just the Greene County Agricultural Society and Hamvention organizers, but also officials and organizations throughout the county.
“Everyone at the Greene County Fairgrounds, the City of Xenia and the county as a whole have really gone above and beyond to welcome and accommodate the event and all of the wonderful Hamvention folks that we have come to know as great partners and friends,” Kathleen Wright, Executive Director of Greene County Visitors and Convention Bureau, said.
“Everybody that we’ve been involved with has been highly supportive of our efforts,” Simpson added.
Of course, there are bound to be logistical challenges for the area during the weekend event, which Stock noted.
These include congested traffic during peak times, restaurants with longer lines and cell phone connection problems. To mitigate cell phone connectivity problems, Hamvention is bringing appliances to increase call capacity, Stock said.
“The signature ‘Xenia, the City of Hospitality’ will be put to the test not just for the city but for our entire area and tested on an international stage,” Stock wrote in a joint residential letter from the city and the township that was delivered to residents in targeted travel areas.
“Working and planning together, all of the entities have tried to safely prepare for this three-day alteration of our daily lives. Thank you in advance for sowing the seeds of hospitality reflecting the township, city, and the greater Greene County region,” Stock and Brent Merriman, Xenia City Manager, ended the letter.
Reach Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.