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HamFest – Good and Different

The Maryland Ubuntu Loco Team had our first meeting. It went better than I was hoping for. An excellent turnout and lots of good ideas came of it. I can’t wait for the next meeting.

It’s amazing how time marches on. The last few years I haven’t been to the Maryland HamFest on a Saturday. I’ve made it there on Sunday afternoon the couple times I made it at all. I had noticed a drop in attendance but thought nothing of it due to the time and weather.

This year I went on Saturday, and in the morning. I was shocked. there was plenty of parking at 9am. Thinking back to my first experiences with the event the parking lot was solid from about 7 til noon. After wandering around the two, down from three, buildings of exhibitors and the parking lot it was amazing. First there was room to move in the wide aisles. Back in the mid 90’s to early 00’s it was wall to wall people down narrow aisles. Vendors were cutting prices and no time to talk to customers due to the number of people. Now it was price as marked and idle time to chat.

I’m not sure why it caught me so off guard. I guess it just shows how consumers have changed with their computer and gear buying habits. In additon the deals that used to be there were not. Sure, if you’re looking for the DIY bits and bobs they were there and great prices, if you need quantity and ignored the gate charge. I was looking at the prices for computer gear and the vendors would not negotiate, and what they offered was off brand items for the same price that I could get at the online places for name brand things.

One thing that remained the same, thankfully, was the Hamboree Special sandwiches. Well worth it in addion to a good day of wandering the show.