Hamvention to kick off in Xenia starting today; Thousands expected to attend

XENIA — After nearly three years, Hamvention is back.

The convention is the world’s largest amateur radio gathering at Greene County Expo Center, according to the event’s website.

Around 30,000 visitors are expected to come to the event from across the world.

Michael Kalter, the spokesperson for Hamvention, said that based on numbers from the Greene County Convention Visitors Bureau, Hamvention adds $30 million to the local economy.

He said amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is something people of all ages and backgrounds can be a part of, which is why he thinks the convention draws such a large crowd.

Kalter shared how it feels to bring so many people from around the world together.

“That makes me feel really good,” Kalter told News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott.

“I’m glad that the hobby seems to be really growing and flourishing,” he added.

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There are no COVID-19 restrictions in place for this year’s convention.

With thousands of people expected to attend, safety is a top priority.

Before entering the convention center, people must have their bags checked.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department said they have prepared for the event.

Major Shawn Prall, with the sheriff’s office, said they have a plan in place to make sure traffic moves along smoothly as there are only two lanes to get to the grounds.

Crews will also keep an eye on the weather, in case it turns severe.

Prall said this will be his fourth Hamvention, and he has never had an incident.

“We’re taking precautions, both that the public will see in uniform presence and also things that they can’t see. Just trying to keep everybody safe and be ready for any kind of incident, whether it be weather or manmade or anything like that,” Prall said.

The convention runs through the weekend from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and it will end early at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to the expo center’s website