What is The New England Amateur Radio Festival (NEAR-Fest)?
The NEAR-Fest is an international event run by and for amateur radio operators and other enthusiasts held at the Deerfield Fairgrounds, Deerfield NH. The days are Friday and Saturday.
NEAR-Fest typically attracts attendees from the six New England states, NY, NJ, PA, MD and other states as well as from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada. Some attendees travel great distances; one gentleman from Los Angeles has attended fifteen events and in 2010 one radio amateur traveled from Greece to join us for the fun.
The program of activities and events at NEAR-Fest is extensive; a huge outdoor electronic flea market, three buildings full of commercial vendors, forums, technical seminars and symposia, demonstrations, exhibits, displays, licensing examinations, special events radio stations, a “jam session”, good food, fellowship, fun and general mishigoss. NEAR-Fest is the largest event of its kind in the Northeast and has once been described as the “Woodstock of Amateur Radio”.
All of NEAR-Fest’s staff members are volunteers. Since NEAR-Fest is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity, any funds remaining after expenses are used for benevolent projects. NEAR-Fest directs some of its resources to attracting newcomers to our hobby with a special emphasis toward young people. To that end NEAR-Fest has constructed an amateur radio station capable of communicating through satellites orbiting the Earth as a gift to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord NH and brokered a partnership with the Contoocook Valley Radio Club (CVRC) to operate and maintain the amateur station on a regular schedule.
In addition we have also funded several technical school scholarships and supported various charitable organizations such as the Shriners Hospitals and Boston Burns Unit. We also help to preserve our radio frequency spectrum allocations and have initiated a program providing for fund-matching grants to expand and enhance the amateur radio digital networks in New England.