XENIA — Dayton Hamvention is staying Greene.
Event organizers announced Monday that they have signed a contract with the Greene County Agricultural Society to hold one of the premier conventions for ham radio enthusiasts at the Greene County Fairgrounds for the next five years.
“We are very excited about the future of ham radio,” general chairman Jack Gerbs said.
While the contract runs through 2024, Gerbs hinted that Greene County will be the long-term home for the event, which drew more than 32,000 people last year and has an economic impact to the region of nearly $18 million.
“With the investments we are making, with the investments the community is making, there should not be a reason (to go elsewhere),” Gerbs said.
The agricultural society spent more than $60,000 on improvements including installing large fans in the buildings and adding staff including an expo center manager. Hamvention also kicked in to help improve internet and network access inside all buildings, among other things. Improvements were also made to the infield to ensure vendors would not get stuck if it rained and to make it easier for shoppers to walk around.
“It’s just building up and getting better all the time,” Gerbs said.
Hamvention first moved to Greene County in 2017, after its former home, Hara Arena, closed its doors. There were rumors that Hamvention could move back to Montgomery County with the opening of the new fairgrounds, and even Clark County was courting organizers. But neither venue could offer what Greene County’s fairgrounds could.
“When we left Hara there were naysayers,” said Ron Cramer, Dayton Amateur Radio Association president and former Hamvention general chair. “We had our issues the first year with the rain, the mud, the wind. I think we’re extremely happy here. All of our guests were extremely happy here. This was by far the best place we could find. It just stood out above the rest.”
Greene County officials are happy the event will be around for a while.
“This is terrific news for our county,” said County Administrator Brandon Huddleson. “This event contributes to the local economy and gives Greene County worldwide exposure.”
The long-term deal will also help the fairgrounds increase its footprint.
“This is exciting news for the Greene County Fairgrounds Expositions Center,” said agricultural society president Dan Bullen. “It’s a game changer for us. We’ll be able to do more. The events we can draw in because of the Hamvention coming here. If we can hold Hamvention, we can handle other things.”
Next year’s Hamvention is set for May 15-17.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.