RAN Technology

More hamfests return to WI-IL-IA in 2021

General Information 0 Comments 03/25/2021 

it's about time!

Hamfests return in 2021 to Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin!


The 2021 DeKalb (Sandwich) and Starved Rock hamfests were great successes!   This was the first time for Starved Rock Radio Club to hold the hamfest in Mendota IL which worked out great -  hope it helps the club rebuild what was once one of the best hamfests in the area..

The South Milwaukee 'fest is special because it's what a hamfest should be, to my way of thinking at least - a big tailgate swap area and nothing else.  No "indoor sellers" (at least not many), no new equipment dealers, and no seminars or other distractions from the business at hand - buying and selling old radio junk.  It's always been the kind of 'fest where a load of "barn fresh" gear is likely to show up for picking, and where friends from half a state or more away will make the journey.    Really glad to see it's back!  (even without the free beer)

Photo above is from Peoria 2007, in front of the "Taj", with the famous WA9VRH rib smoker visible in the foreground.

As the hamfest season for 2021 draws to a close it's now possible to say that the two I first wrote about were the best.   The Peoria Superfest did take place, which is a bit surprising since the club was forced to relocate TWICE.   This is probably the new permanent location as the city of East Peoria which owns the event center added crushed blacktop to the dirt field, making it at least as good as the worn-out parking area at Expo Gardens.  The indoor space seemed adequate and hopefully if the outdoor flea market expands to fill the available space the club and city will find a way to add more spaces.   The biggest shortcoming was the lack of any kind of food service at the hamfest.   Why the club didn't at least notify a food truck vendor or two is a mystery to all.    On the plus side, the outdoor spaces were generous in size and marked (although not clearly) and there are some good local restaurants within walking distance.

The CFMC has held it's RadioFest at the Boone County Fairgrounds at Belvidere IL since the closing of "Grayslake" and it's a nearly ideal venue with long paved "streets" between the vendor spaces and plenty of indoor space, bathrooms, food, etc.    The problem was attendance - based on the number of sellers in previous years the fleamarket area had to be at least 20% smaller, and the overall quality of "shtuff" included more non-ham offerings than usual.  But it was a beautiful day and hopefully attendance will bounce back at both 'fests next year.

The annual BBQ-AM Get-together at the beautiful home of KI8BQ was again, as WA6GYC puts it, "the high point of the summer".   This will be the last year that Gary is able to host the event, but stay tuned, as plans are being made for it to continue under the auspices of Terry N6TLU at Battle Creek MI in 2022.

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