XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) — Greene County is taking a financial hit after the Dayton Hamvention announces it will not happen again this year.
For three years, more than 30,000 people have been coming to the Greene County Fairgrounds & Expo Center for the annual amateur radio convention.
“They were pushing full steam ahead,” admits Kathleen Wright, the Executive Director of the Greene County Convention & Visitors Bureau, hoping Hamvention would be held in 2021.
“We looked at it, and it was a very gut-wrenching decision,” admits Michael Kalter, a Spokesperson and Board Member for Dayton Hamvention.
The Dayton Hamvention started in 1952, but it won’t happen for the second year in a row.
Organizers made the decision to pull the plug on the convention after a slower-than-expected vaccine rollout and new threats of a mutated virus.
“It’s a labor of love and we really enjoy the hobby. And it’s very disappointing to all of our volunteers, as well. We never thought this would happen,” says Kalter.
The convention has called the Greene County Fairgrounds home since 2017. It was held at Hara Arena in Trotwood for five decades, but once the arena closed, Greene County picked it up.
In 2019, it pumped in about $30 million regionally, with $15-19 million of that total coming to Greene County.
This year, the region is losing out on those dollars again.
“It just really really hurt. Our hotel stays and tourism industry as a whole was hit probably the hardest of anything,” says Wright of last year’s cancellation.
Even with the financial loss, officials want to err on the side of caution with sights set on 2022.
“Definitely we will have a big 2022 event,” says Kalter.
Hamvention is now scheduled for May 20 through 22, 2022.