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Ham Fairs

posted Feb 12, 2015, 9:46 PM by Charles Boling

This weekend starts the first major ham fair of the year in these parts.   Ham fairs come in many shapes and sizes; some are no more than a tailgate flea market, while others are big multi-day affairs that, though vendors are still a major part, offer many workshops and other activities.  It's a great place to pick up (or get rid of) used gear, to see what's out there, and to see lots of interesting people. Learn something, teach something, find something, sell something, or just just have a good time.

They also vary in price for admittance, and, like club dues and many other things, smaller is often not cheaper.  Some are likewise expensive to sell at, whereas others really try to draw in vendors -- even making it free for large commercial vendors -- in an attempt to build something that will draw a paying crowd.  If your club is putting on an event, you can usually get in money-free, in exchange for working setup/security.

Size isn't always everything -- a small group can mean less shopping competition, and participation in a local event can be rewarding at many levels -- but if you travel a long distance, you may like to do more than wander between tables for an hour before returning home.

Here's a brief rundown of some of the shows that you'll see on this year's Events calendar:

  • Feb 17: Salem Hamfair (Rickreall, OR) Advertised as Oregon's largest swapmeet.  $8 ($9 @ door); 12 & under free
  • Mar 7: Mike & Key (Puyallup, WA)  A large (44k sq ft) indoor market. $8; 15 & under free
  • Jun 5-7: Sea-Pac (Seaside, OR) The biggest of them all.  Lots of presentations & workshops.  $10/ea for Saturday; 12 & under Free
  • Jul 17: CVARS (Chehalis, WA) Tailgate party that looks to be a little bigger than Vancouver's.  $3/ea; <11 & under free
  • Aug 27: CCARC (Vancouver, WA) Started off as a tailgate event, and grown to include indoor space.  $6/ea ($8 @ door); 12 & under Free
  • Oct 17: Swaptoberfest (Rickreall, OR) Now includes full-blown Emergency volunteer fair w/ new website in 2013, which seems to have lost steam. $8/ea?

And, of course there are plenty of events besides swap meets.  Check the calendar (as well as other sites) and see what's happening.