The NEAR-Fest, (an acronym for The New England Amateur Radio Festival) is the largest gathering of radio enthusiasts in the Northeastern US and Eastern Canada. The NEAR-Fest convenes twice annually in May and October at the Deerfield Fairgrounds at Deerfield New Hampshire.
Dates for 2014 Fall: Friday October 10th and Saturday October 11th 2014. Dates for 2015 Tentative date for Spring 2015 is Friday May 1st and Saturday May 2nd 2015.
Radio enthusiasts line up at the Deerfield NH Fairgrounds gates in eager anticipation of another NEAR-Fest.
All radio enthusiasts are cordially invited to attend. In addition to a large number of amateur radio operators, many short-wave listeners, scanner buffs and antique radio collectors enjoy the NEAR-Fest. In addition to the huge tailgating swapfest there are three large buildings filled to capacity with commercial vendors, many forums and seminars, FCC examining sessions and the world renown NEAR-Fest "Ham-Jam" that rocks the Fairgrounds until the wee hours of the morning.
NEAR-Fest is NOT run by a club or any other such entity. It was created in February 2007 by "Mister Mike", W1RC and his friends Gary W2INR, Timtron WA1HLR, Mike K1TWF, Ed N1IWV, Clem VE2BIA, Paul W1PRA and Todd KA1KAQ to ensure that the "Grand Tradition" started by The Hosstraders in May 1973 would continue. It is is best described as a "benevolent dictatorship" as well as "a party for 3,000 of our closest friends". The not-for-profit corporation devotes any funds in excess of its costs to promoting the amateur radio hobby to newcomers, with special emphasis towards young people. Towards that end in May 2008 NEAR-Fest donated an amateur radio station, call sign KA1SKY, to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord New Hampshire (formerly known as the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium). NEAR-Fest has also supported Shriners hospitals and burns centers in Boston, Springfield MA and Montreal. In 2013 NEAR-Fest raised over $3,500.00 for the ONE-FUND BOSTON effort to benefit the Marathon bombing victims and established three $1,000.00 scholarships for students studying electronics technology in ME, NH and VT.
Current "Central Committee" members are "Mister Mike", W1RC, "Benevolent Dictator"; Timtron WA1HLR, Director of on-site communications; Mike K1TWF, Director of Operations (Emeritus); Paul W1PRA, Sergeant-at-Arms; Todd KA1KAQ, Hamfest Security; John K1JJS, Director of Commercial Exhibits; Larry N1PHV, Director of Operations; Gregg W1USA, Treasurer and Warren, W1GUD, Director of Media and Public Relations.