Those planning to attend or be in the vicinity this weekend of the first Hamvention at the Greene County Fairgrounds, be prepared for traffic issues – and rain.
Both made a strong showing Friday and are expected to continue through Sunday as 30,000 people from a handful of countries are projected to descend on Xenia for the popular amateur radio convention that had been held at Hara Arena, which closed last year.
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The National Weather Service is on site and “we are working closely with them and they have phone contact with us, email contact immediately to give us forewarning if there’s an issue,” Hamvention spokesman Michael Kalter, a Greene County resident, said Friday.
The chances for showers and thunderstorms in Greene County are strongest after 7 a.m. today as it expected to be mostly cloudy with a chance of precipitation about 40 percent with as much as one quarter inch of rain, according to the weather service.
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With temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-70s, showers and thunderstorms are more likely – 80 percent - overnight Saturday into Sunday with as much as a half inch of rain possible throughout the day, according to the forecast.
Projected to provide a $14 million economic boost to the region, Hamvention will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Peak traffic hours, officials said, will be from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. as people make their way to the fairgrounds, and from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. as they leave.
Green County Sheriff Gene Fischer said state troopers and Xenia police officers have joined deputies if traffic-control efforts.
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“We anticipated we were going to have backed up traffic and we were right on par.,” he said Friday morning. “It is still backed up right now and we’re trying to get everybody in as fast as we can.”
Kalter said this year will undoubtedly leave officials with “learning experiences that the community will have for next year.”
“Hamvention is a big deal and we want them to work” with local officials “because it’s really a boon for the county and the city,” he said.
PHOTOS: Hamvention through the years