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eHam Forums => Hamfests => Topic started by: W9PMZ on November 14, 2018, 04:18:27 AM



Title: HARA Arena
Post by: W9PMZ on November 14, 2018, 04:18:27 AM
There was an interesting story on the history of HARA Arena and its possible future last night on the channel 2 news.
Didn't know this, HARA came from Harold and Ralph Sampler, the owners. The first two letters of their first names.
Then there was the stroll down memory lane of the Dayton Gems, the concerts, the dog shows and a brief mention of the Hamvention.
For me I do remember the dog shows, went there as a scout, going to the Dayton Gems games, ice skating and the back parking lot was a popular place to learn to parallel park and master the clutch.
The story interviewed the new owner and he stated that they were evaluating how the building an be saved and reused.  No mention of for what though.   Perhaps it my reopen for a future Hamvention...
73,
Carl - W9PMZ


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: W4KYR on November 14, 2018, 06:33:28 AM
There was an interesting story on the history of HARA Arena and its possible future last night on the channel 2 news.
Didn't know this, HARA came from Harold and Ralph Sampler, the owners. The first two letters of their first names.
Then there was the stroll down memory lane of the Dayton Gems, the concerts, the dog shows and a brief mention of the Hamvention.
For me I do remember the dog shows, went there as a scout, going to the Dayton Gems games, ice skating and the back parking lot was a popular place to learn to parallel park and master the clutch.
The story interviewed the new owner and he stated that they were evaluating how the building an be saved and reused.  No mention of for what though.   Perhaps it my reopen for a future Hamvention...
73,
Carl - W9PMZ


New Life in Trotwood

https://www.wdtn.com/community/i-love-dayton/i-love-dayton-life-coming-back-to-hara-arena/1593793681


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: W8JX on November 14, 2018, 08:48:07 AM
I think for HARA site to have any future, it needs to be leveled and rebuilt from ground up including underground plumbing and sewage. To just "patch" fix it would not work long term. Question is if anyone is going to spend that money.


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N9FB on November 16, 2018, 06:29:53 AM
I think for HARA site to have any future, it needs to be leveled and rebuilt from ground up including underground plumbing and sewage. To just "patch" fix it would not work long term. Question is if anyone is going to spend that money.

agreed

In 1960 Dayton was reasonably close to a several of the most populous cities in the United States:

Rank   City   State   Population[22]   Notes
1   New York   New York   7,781,984   First ever population drop for New York City.
2   Chicago   Illinois   3,550,404   First ever population drop for Chicago.
3   Los Angeles   California   2,479,015   Los Angeles overtakes Philadelphia to become the nation's third-largest city.
4   Philadelphia   Pennsylvania   2,002,512   After 60 years as the nation's third-largest city, Philadelphia drops to the fourth spot on the list.
5   Detroit   Michigan   1,670,144   First ever population drop for Detroit.
6   Baltimore   Maryland   939,024   First ever population drop for Baltimore.
7   Houston   Texas   938,219   First appearance in the top 10.
8   Cleveland   Ohio   876,050   
9   Washington   District of Columbia   783,956   First ever population drop for Washington.
10   St. Louis   Missouri   750,026   Last appearance in the top 10.

In 2010 Dayton is much less so:

2010
See also: 2010 United States Census § City rankings
Seven of the country's ten largest cities in 2010 were located in the Sun Belt region of the south and west, all of which have far lower population density than their earlier top-ranking counterparts. A different ranking is evident when considering U.S. metro area populations which count both city and suburban populations.

Rank   City   State   Population[3]   Notes
1   New York   New York   8,175,133   
2   Los Angeles   California   3,792,621   
3   Chicago   Illinois   2,695,598   
4   Houston   Texas   2,099,451   First (and to date, the only) city in Texas to surpass 2 million.
5   Philadelphia   Pennsylvania   1,526,006   First population gain since 1950.
6   Phoenix   Arizona   1,445,632   
7   San Antonio   Texas   1,327,407   San Antonio's rapid growth causes it to overtake Dallas as Texas' second-largest city.
8   San Diego   California   1,307,402   
9   Dallas   Texas   1,197,816   
10   San Jose   California   945,942   First appearance in the top 10.
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_populous_cities_in_the_United_States_by_decade

i suspect including metro areas would change the rankings some, but if you are looking to build an arena to host events & national conventions (of all types) what exactly is Dayton's draw today  ???


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: VE3WGO on November 16, 2018, 07:55:31 AM
The closer a site is to one of those huge cities, the more expensive the event has to be in order to pay expenses for facilities, etc, and the harder the driving is.

But a 3 hour drive (~150 mile radius) from Dayton includes over 15 million people....  http://www.statsamerica.org/radius/big.aspx

...not a bad statistic at all.

73, Ed


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N9FB on November 16, 2018, 09:39:09 AM
if you are building an Arena, is it people or large organizations and corporations that you want to be in reasonable proximity to?  Also, night life, accommodations and other nearby entertainment attractions may be important too... where would you rank Dayton in that kind of equation?

and even for ham radio alone, what percentage of US and Canadian hams are within 150 miles of Dayton in 2018 vs 1964?


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: W8JX on November 17, 2018, 05:08:30 AM
The landscape has changed since HARA was first built. I think it would be a bad investment to rebuild on current site, If someone is willing to put up money it should be on new ground in a different location. HARA started spiraling down over 25 years ago when they converted some on land to a golf course and reinvested nothing back into HARA complex itself. Word was for many years owners knew it was dying and were taking all the "profit" to support their life styles while it lasted. The end result is it fell behind the times and in needed repairs and updates. You buy HARA now you are basically buying land as the buildings are of little value due to their condition. Plus last I heard the whole HARA complex is still on a single 6 inch sewer line that dates to 60's when first built that collapsed and backed up into flea market several years ago. They fixed the part that collapsed in golf course but never upgraded and replaced the line.


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: VE3WGO on November 17, 2018, 06:24:03 AM
on the goggle map it looks like it is surrounded by business and low-rise residential areas.  Probably some developer will buy it, level it, and build yet another housing development.  But it will take a while...  looks like that area is still low density.  Maybe 20 years?

73, Ed


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2SR on November 17, 2018, 09:08:56 AM
and even for ham radio alone, what percentage of US and Canadian hams are within 150 miles of Dayton in 2018 vs 1964?


It's not about how many hams are within 150 miles of the area. 

It's: how many hams are within a days driving distance from the area.   

Answer: a lot. 


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: W8JX on November 17, 2018, 11:35:35 AM
on the goggle map it looks like it is surrounded by business and low-rise residential areas.  Probably some developer will buy it, level it, and build yet another housing development.  But it will take a while...  looks like that area is still low density.  Maybe 20 years?

73, Ed

I agree that if land was cleaned up it would likely be worth more for future housing than a event center


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2EY on November 17, 2018, 12:50:27 PM
and even for ham radio alone, what percentage of US and Canadian hams are within 150 miles of Dayton in 2018 vs 1964?


It's not about how many hams are within 150 miles of the area.  

It's: how many hams are within a days driving distance from the area.  

Answer: a lot.  


Yes! And even more if the distance is extended to 1-1/2 to 2 days' drive, for those willing to get a hotel room along the way. Probably most hams east of the Rockies.

Here's the bigger issue:

What would the facility be used for the other 51 weeks of the year? As big as Hamvention is, or could be, I doubt it's big enough to even begin to sustain any venue for a whole year.

And as the Xenia site is improved, it may become a non-issue. In fact it's probably a non-issue already.

73 de Jim, N2EY



Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2SR on November 17, 2018, 01:50:26 PM
and even for ham radio alone, what percentage of US and Canadian hams are within 150 miles of Dayton in 2018 vs 1964?


It's not about how many hams are within 150 miles of the area.  

It's: how many hams are within a days driving distance from the area.  

Answer: a lot.  


Yes! And even more if the distance is extended to 1-1/2 to 2 days' drive, for those willing to get a hotel room along the way. Probably most hams east of the Rockies.

Here's the bigger issue:

What would the facility be used for the other 51 weeks of the year? As big as Hamvention is, or could be, I doubt it's big enough to even begin to sustain any venue for a whole year.

And as the Xenia site is improved, it may become a non-issue. In fact it's probably a non-issue already.

73 de Jim, N2EY



Agreed!   I was there this past year (missed 2017 because of work).   While it's a work in progress, the smell is far, far better (especially in the bathrooms!) then the dingy, "let's watch another ceiling tile fall down," bombed cratered flea market, hara arena. 



Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N9FB on November 17, 2018, 03:38:37 PM
Quote from: VE3WGO
a 3 hour drive (~150 mile radius) from Dayton includes over 15 million people....

Quote from: N9KX
even for ham radio alone, what percentage of US and Canadian hams are within 150 miles of Dayton in 2018 vs 1964?

Quote from: N2SR
It's not about how many hams are within 150 miles of the area. 
It's: how many hams are within a days driving distance from the area.   
Answer: a lot. 

the context was in whether it would be worthwhile for an entrepreneur to rebuild HARA Arena in Dayton.
In 1964 Dayton was an accessible drive to a far greater percentage of the US population and hams.  So in choosing a site to host a national ham convention, a different location would probably be more value added today for the would-be investor(s).  Of course the site would not make most of its money from hams and the non-ham events too would probably be better situated at a site other than Dayton. To show my math here: in addition to how close in distance the site is for the greatest percentage of the CONUS, accommodations, night life and other local attractions should be a factor and i am doubting Dayton competes well with other potential locations in these areas too. (right?)

As for reality and Xenia -- i think it is a good practical alternative to anything else that has been proposed so far. 
But, if you had all the money in the world to build a new site for a massive national ham convention -- and a local ham club equipped to make the thing happen -- where would you locate it and why?


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: W8JX on November 17, 2018, 06:55:23 PM
As for reality and Xenia -- i think it is a good practical alternative to anything else that has been proposed so far. 

In what alternate reality is that? It is like worst possible location around here. It was by far the cheapest though which is driving force for DARA.


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2SR on November 18, 2018, 05:18:58 AM

the context was in whether it would be worthwhile for an entrepreneur to rebuild HARA Arena in Dayton.
In 1964 Dayton was an accessible drive to a far greater percentage of the US population and hams.  So in choosing a site to host a national ham convention, a different location would probably be more value added today for the would-be investor(s).  Of course the site would not make most of its money from hams and the non-ham events too would probably be better situated at a site other than Dayton. To show my math here: in addition to how close in distance the site is for the greatest percentage of the CONUS, accommodations, night life and other local attractions should be a factor and i am doubting Dayton competes well with other potential locations in these areas too. (right?)

As for reality and Xenia -- i think it is a good practical alternative to anything else that has been proposed so far. 
But, if you had all the money in the world to build a new site for a massive national ham convention -- and a local ham club equipped to make the thing happen -- where would you locate it and why?

The simple answer is, NO.  As N2EY pointed out, what would you do with a building that large the other 51 weekends out of the year?   Dayton already has a convention center, in downtown, and because of the uniqueness of the hamvention, would not really accommodate the hamvention that well.   

IIRC, the Dayton hamfest was not "chosen" as the national ham convention at the start.  It started off as a local hamfest, then became a regional hamfest, and as it became larger and larger, it started attracting more and more people.   Eventually it became ONE OF the national conventions designated by the ARRL.   Then, back maybe 10+ years ago, the ARRL threw some money at dara and designated it as the National Amateur Radio Convention.  That occurred when the ARRL "took over" a large portion of the one of the exhibit halls at hara. 

There is more than accommodations, night life, and other local attractions that bring attendees to the area.   If the vendors do not show up, then the attendees won't show up, and it starts to circle the drain.   While many hams will bring their non-ham spouses, most do not.   That being said, there really isn't much for non-hams to do.  The food in the area is generally pretty good.   Accommodations are generally good, though you have to be careful about some hotels.   

You could move it to NYC, and then expect to pay $50 and up for tickets.  You could move it to Las Vegas, and then expect to pay $50 and up for tickets.  You will also draw less of a crowd to LV, especially from the East Coast, and vice-versa for the West Coast (if it were in NYC).   



So where do YOU want it?   Indianapolis?   


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: WB8PFZ on November 18, 2018, 05:57:42 AM
The IX center in Cleveland. Mike


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2SR on November 18, 2018, 08:04:15 AM
The IX center in Cleveland. Mike

Great idea!   Let us know when you'll organize everything.   Also let us know the dates. 



Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N9FB on November 18, 2018, 04:09:04 PM

Quote from: N9KX
As for reality and Xenia -- i think it is a good practical alternative to anything else that has been proposed so far. 

Quote from: W8JX
In what alternate reality is that? It is like worst possible location around here. It was by far the cheapest though which is driving force for DARA.

What other proposed superior alternatives are you aware of?
Xenia is the only alternative that has proven its worth that i know of --   

1. Xenia is 15 miles from Dayton.  so for the majority of us who are not within 50 miles of Dayton, it is practically the same place geographically.
2. The local ham club there has the skills and manpower to pull the thing off (and have even shown the capacity to carry on despite loud QRM from a certain local curmudgeon)
3. It's getting better every year in Xenia and it is certainly an improvement over the unusable HARA arena.


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2EY on November 19, 2018, 05:39:25 AM
The IX center in Cleveland.

Great idea.....just two problems.

1) It's a 213 mile drive from Dayton to Cleveland. How do we convince the DARA folks who have organized and run Hamvention for decades to do so at a venue that's over 210 miles away? (Xenia is about 16 miles).

2) The price of everything in Cleveland - the venue, hotel rooms, etc. - is higher than in Dayton/Xenia. The cost of transport of DARA folks will be greater too. The end result would be much higher ticket prices and overall costs to attend. What will that due to attendance?


"Nothing is ever difficult for the person who doesn't have to do the work."

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2SR on November 19, 2018, 05:50:46 AM
The IX center in Cleveland.

Great idea.....just two problems.

1) It's a 213 mile drive from Dayton to Cleveland. How do we convince the DARA folks who have organized and run Hamvention for decades to do so at a venue that's over 210 miles away? (Xenia is about 16 miles).

2) The price of everything in Cleveland - the venue, hotel rooms, etc. - is higher than in Dayton/Xenia. The cost of transport of DARA folks will be greater too. The end result would be much higher ticket prices and overall costs to attend. What will that due to attendance?


"Nothing is ever difficult for the person who doesn't have to do the work."

73 de Jim, N2EY

Of course WB8PFZ suggested Cleveland.   His town is 10 miles from Cleveland.  Hence my earlier post of "let us know when you'll organize everything...."   


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N8AUC on November 20, 2018, 07:28:18 AM
The IX center in Cleveland.

Great idea.....just two problems.

1) It's a 213 mile drive from Dayton to Cleveland. How do we convince the DARA folks who have organized and run Hamvention for decades to do so at a venue that's over 210 miles away? (Xenia is about 16 miles).

2) The price of everything in Cleveland - the venue, hotel rooms, etc. - is higher than in Dayton/Xenia. The cost of transport of DARA folks will be greater too. The end result would be much higher ticket prices and overall costs to attend. What will that due to attendance?


"Nothing is ever difficult for the person who doesn't have to do the work."

73 de Jim, N2EY

Of course WB8PFZ suggested Cleveland.   His town is 10 miles from Cleveland.  Hence my earlier post of "let us know when you'll organize everything...."   

I live about 3 miles from the IX center in Cleveland.
It would be a great facility for hamvention.
It has several million square feet under roof, and a huge amount of on site parking.
They hold the Auto show there, the RV show, and even an indoor amusement park complete with ferris wheel and roller coasters.
But it's only the facility.

The volunteer manpower is in Dayton, and the organizational expertise and experience is in Dayton.
Asking them to drive 3 or 4 hours to come to my backyard simply isn't going to happen. You're not going to recreate that
quickly in Cleveland. Not to say we don't have smart and capable people here, because we do. But we haven't been
putting on Hamvention for the last 50 years. So that "been there done that" level of experience just doesn't exist at the moment.

I went to Xenia last year. It wasn't the same as Hara. Some will say that's a good thing, and I may eventually get there.
But I pretty much knew where to find everything at Hara, and the same vendors usually set up in the same places. So
even though it was kind of a crap hole, it was familiar, and a bit comfortable.

I'm willing to try it again this year and see if I like it better than last year. Maybe Xenia just takes a little more getting used to.

73 de N8AUC
Eric



Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N8AUC on November 20, 2018, 08:11:58 AM
The IX center in Cleveland.

Great idea.....just two problems.

1) It's a 213 mile drive from Dayton to Cleveland. How do we convince the DARA folks who have organized and run Hamvention for decades to do so at a venue that's over 210 miles away? (Xenia is about 16 miles).

2) The price of everything in Cleveland - the venue, hotel rooms, etc. - is higher than in Dayton/Xenia. The cost of transport of DARA folks will be greater too. The end result would be much higher ticket prices and overall costs to attend. What will that due to attendance?


"Nothing is ever difficult for the person who doesn't have to do the work."

73 de Jim, N2EY

Actually, the cost of hotel rooms isn't much different than in Cleveland than in Dayton.
We built out a lot of new hotel space to accommodate the RNC in 2016.
As a result, it's kind of competitive at the moment. Unless you want to stay
downtown. That's expensive. But that's a long way from the IX center.

I have no idea what it would cost to rent out the IX Center for Hamvention.
And I wouldn't know a good deal from a bad one when it comes to renting a facility like that.

Probably best to keep it in Dayton. I certainly don't mind the road trip, or the weekend getaway.

73 de N8AUC
Eric
(3 miles from the IX center in Cleveland)


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N2SR on November 20, 2018, 10:07:25 AM
The IX center in Cleveland.

Great idea.....just two problems.

1) It's a 213 mile drive from Dayton to Cleveland. How do we convince the DARA folks who have organized and run Hamvention for decades to do so at a venue that's over 210 miles away? (Xenia is about 16 miles).

2) The price of everything in Cleveland - the venue, hotel rooms, etc. - is higher than in Dayton/Xenia. The cost of transport of DARA folks will be greater too. The end result would be much higher ticket prices and overall costs to attend. What will that due to attendance?


"Nothing is ever difficult for the person who doesn't have to do the work."

73 de Jim, N2EY

Of course WB8PFZ suggested Cleveland.   His town is 10 miles from Cleveland.  Hence my earlier post of "let us know when you'll organize everything...."   

I live about 3 miles from the IX center in Cleveland.
It would be a great facility for hamvention.
It has several million square feet under roof, and a huge amount of on site parking.
They hold the Auto show there, the RV show, and even an indoor amusement park complete with ferris wheel and roller coasters.
But it's only the facility.

The volunteer manpower is in Dayton, and the organizational expertise and experience is in Dayton.
Asking them to drive 3 or 4 hours to come to my backyard simply isn't going to happen. You're not going to recreate that
quickly in Cleveland. Not to say we don't have smart and capable people here, because we do. But we haven't been
putting on Hamvention for the last 50 years. So that "been there done that" level of experience just doesn't exist at the moment.

I went to Xenia last year. It wasn't the same as Hara. Some will say that's a good thing, and I may eventually get there.
But I pretty much knew where to find everything at Hara, and the same vendors usually set up in the same places. So
even though it was kind of a crap hole, it was familiar, and a bit comfortable.

I'm willing to try it again this year and see if I like it better than last year. Maybe Xenia just takes a little more getting used to.

73 de N8AUC
Eric



Fantastic!   Start organizing it and let us know the dates.   Give all of us ample notice so we can book vacation time, flights, etc. 

Good Luck.  We're all counting on you. 



Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N8AUC on November 20, 2018, 10:31:32 AM
The IX center in Cleveland.

Great idea.....just two problems.

1) It's a 213 mile drive from Dayton to Cleveland. How do we convince the DARA folks who have organized and run Hamvention for decades to do so at a venue that's over 210 miles away? (Xenia is about 16 miles).

2) The price of everything in Cleveland - the venue, hotel rooms, etc. - is higher than in Dayton/Xenia. The cost of transport of DARA folks will be greater too. The end result would be much higher ticket prices and overall costs to attend. What will that due to attendance?


"Nothing is ever difficult for the person who doesn't have to do the work."

73 de Jim, N2EY

Of course WB8PFZ suggested Cleveland.   His town is 10 miles from Cleveland.  Hence my earlier post of "let us know when you'll organize everything...."   

I live about 3 miles from the IX center in Cleveland.
It would be a great facility for hamvention.
It has several million square feet under roof, and a huge amount of on site parking.
They hold the Auto show there, the RV show, and even an indoor amusement park complete with ferris wheel and roller coasters.
But it's only the facility.

The volunteer manpower is in Dayton, and the organizational expertise and experience is in Dayton.
Asking them to drive 3 or 4 hours to come to my backyard simply isn't going to happen. You're not going to recreate that
quickly in Cleveland. Not to say we don't have smart and capable people here, because we do. But we haven't been
putting on Hamvention for the last 50 years. So that "been there done that" level of experience just doesn't exist at the moment.

I went to Xenia last year. It wasn't the same as Hara. Some will say that's a good thing, and I may eventually get there.
But I pretty much knew where to find everything at Hara, and the same vendors usually set up in the same places. So
even though it was kind of a crap hole, it was familiar, and a bit comfortable.

I'm willing to try it again this year and see if I like it better than last year. Maybe Xenia just takes a little more getting used to.

73 de N8AUC
Eric



Fantastic!   Start organizing it and let us know the dates.   Give all of us ample notice so we can book vacation time, flights, etc. 

Good Luck.  We're all counting on you. 



Perhaps you missed the point.
Moving Hamvention to Cleveland isn't going to happen.
Cleveland might have a great facility, but the people who make it happen are in Dayton.

You have to have both to put on an event the scale of Hamvention.

So schedule your vacation time, and book your hotel room and flights.
But make sure you're headed for Dayton/Xenia if you want to attend Hamvention.

73 de N8AUC
Eric



Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: AF8JC on November 20, 2018, 08:35:25 PM
As any active member of DARA knows, planning and executing Hamvention is a year-round job for the club. I think there are something like 45 chairman/assistant chairman for over 20 committees. These committees have a depth of experience and knowledge that allow them to plan this event with great efficiency. Normally, no one heads up an activity without having served as an underling for prior years. The man-hours that go into pulling off Hamvention is enormous.

After all the planning is done, it takes an army of volunteers and really deep pockets to actually execute the plan. IIRC, there were over 750 volunteers that gave their time and energy to this event. Probably about 2/3 of those volunteers are not regular DARA members. They come from neighboring states, cross-country, and from other countries. My wife and I routinely volunteer and we perform the same tasks from year to year; others perform in a similar fashion. I attend many area hamfests throughout the year, and it is evident which hamfests require lots of prior planning and coordination and which ones don't require much more that reserving the venue and paying for it. No other hamfest I have attended looks like it would require 20% of what goes into Hamvention.

Lastly, the city of Xenia, Greene County, and other neighboring townships have all gone out of their way to support Hamvention. I can't think of any other city that hardly knows when a hamfest is taking place in their community.


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: K4PIH on December 21, 2018, 06:59:36 AM
 I went to the last one at Hara, and the first one at Xenia. No comparison. Give Xenia some time (another 3-4) and Hara will only be talked about at senior centers.

IMHO, not to offend the fine folks in  Dayton but it's a hole! Some of the seediest hotels I've come across in years. Food is marginal and everything was over priced trying to squeeze the last $ out of the cheapest people on the planet, hams.

I'm glad I made the pilgrimage to Hara before it became legend.


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: N9AOP on December 21, 2018, 08:53:02 AM
The marginal food and overpricing will come to Xena also, just give it time. 
Art


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: W2MV on December 28, 2018, 08:20:52 AM
I attended the "Ham Radio" event in Friedrichshafen the past two years, and asked a couple of the foreign vendors and clubs who attended both Xenia and Friedrichshafen what there thoughts were re: Xenia vs Friedrichshafen from a vendor perspective.
The answer I got from the 3 or 4 people was almost identical: Xenia was dirty (even after they improved the MUD situation a bit in 2018), the commercial areas lacked a/c, and the "facilities" were unpleasant to put it politely.
This isn't coming from me; it is the response I received from several foreign vendors and clubs.


Title: RE: HARA Arena
Post by: K5UJ on January 06, 2019, 02:33:59 PM
One thing I think DARA ought to do is get over the 1980s idea of the Hamvention flea market as sold out, so all space around the buildings must be used for the flea market due to demand, therefore general parking has to be separate (and in the case of Hara, remote).   That may have been true in 1985, which made having reserved spaces necessary, but now, the whole thing is in one place at a county fair ground, which means the flea market can be managed like any other hamfest, i.e. just let regular Joe Blow hams show up, buy tickets, drop their tail gates out in the parking area and sell.   This concept that ALL flea market spaces MUST be reserved, with designated spaces, that there MUST be this one area only for selling with the rest only for general admission parking, is no longer necessary.  If businesses, want reserved spaces and the guarantee of the same spot year after year, that's fine, and they can pay for it, but expecting everyone, especially individual hams who just want to clear out their basements, to have to pay well in advance and commit with no idea what the wx will bring, is now unreasonable. 

Now, a lot of guys I know are staying away because they don't want to gamble hundreds of dollars on motels and spaces, then decide to stay home because the wx forecast is for 3 days of rain.  On the other hand, if the wx forecast looked good the day before, a lot of hams a days drive away might make the trip, if they knew they could show up, get tickets, park wherever they find a parking space and sell, like any other hamfest.