GLHA - The Association History
The Greater Louisville Hamfest Association, Inc. (GLHA) evolved from a group of dedicated Amateur Radio enthusiasts from the Louisville area wishing to start a Hamfest in the area. The first hamfest in Louisville was on Sunday, August 2, 1959 at Parkway Field (the ballpark of the Kentucky Colonels). The hamfest was established from a radio club formed for the purpose of starting the Hamfest - The Kentuckiana Radio Club.
In 1982 GLHA was formed as a separate corporation from the Kentuckiana Radio Club. On March 24, 1982 GLHA received its Certificate of Incorporation of Non-Stock, Non-Profit Corporation making it the Greater Louisville Hamfest Association, Inc. The purpose of the Corporation is to enhance the pastime of Amateur Radio. The Board of Directors at that time consisted of Chairman Guy E. Partridge, Vice Chairman J. Fred Klink, Secretary Terry Rowe, Treasurer M. D. Hill and Louis E. Bard (Registered Agent). On April 20, 1984, in accordance with IRS Code Section 501(c)(4) GLHA became a tax-except organization.
The purpose of GLHA is to promote the Greater Louisville Hamfest. Organization is managed by volunteer amateur radio operators. There are no paid personnel. Since GLHA is not affiliated with any club, 100% of all proceeds from each hamfest go toward funding the next year's hamfest.
Every year, GLHA strives to provide an enjoyable and informative hamfest gathering in a high-quality facility with merchants, a flea market, tailgating, forums and amateur radio exams for the least cost to participants. Your attendance is important in achieving this goal each year and we always welcome new ideas and constructive comments to improve every hamfest.
The Greater Louisville Hamfest History
On Sunday, July 31, 1960 the Greater Louisville Hamfest Association sponsored the second Louisville hamfest at General Electric's Appliance Park. Two stations were set up in GEs Monogram Hall for talk-in. About 800 people from 6 states attended. Inside Monogram Hall, the hamfest took on a county-fair look with exhibits on new radio equipment, lectures and entertainment. Prizes were awarded for the best homebrew radio components, the best mobile sets and the best-designed QSL cards.
Throughout the years, the Greater Louisville Hamfest was in various places. For some years we met at the Kentucky National Guard on Crittenden Drive, while Otter Creek Park was the location for the hamfest in 1972.
From 1977 through 1988 the GLH was held at the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center. Attendance in 1979 was around 3000 amateur radio operators and drew more than 5000 hams in 1985 when Space Shuttle Challenger Astronaut Tony England was a guest speaker.
From 1989 through 1994, the Commonwealth Convention Center was used for the 2-day Greater Louisville Hamfest. In 1992, GLHA teamed with the Kentucky-Indiana PC User's Group with the hamfest including workshops on ham radio techniques, computer shareware demonstrations and seminars from Microsoft Corp. and WordPerfect Corp.
The hamfest returned to the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in 1995 until 1998. The Bullitt County Fairgrounds was the home of the Greater Louisville Hamfest from 1999 until 2003.
In 2004, The Greater Louisville Hamfest moved to Paroquet Springs Conference Centre in Shepherdsville and celebrated with an ARRL State Convention, a Friday evening banquet.
The "Louisville Sunrise Hamfest" occured in 2011 from 6:30am until 11:30am because of PSCCs afternoon bookings, but tailgating lasted until 2pm. We now book three years in advance.
2016 was our largest hamfest and ARRL State Convention at PSCC. We were visited by Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton, K5EIB and forums about the solar eclipse, K5P DXpedition to Palmyra Atoll, a technical/digital presentation, SERA and repeater coordination, dogs with radios and ARRL representatives highlighted the morning. The Royal Order of the Wouff Hong occured at noon.
Each year the Louisville hamfest occurred, until 2020, our 60th anniversary, which was postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus.
The tradition of the Greater Louisville Hamfest continues as a yearly event each September on the Saturday after Labor Day. We hope you will continue to join us for Kentuckiana's biggest ham radio event.