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34th Annual Radiofest tunes in July 31-Aug 2

The 34th annual Radiofest will turn things up in July 31-Aug 2, 2015 in Burr Ridge, Ill.

The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) will be holding its 34th annual Radiofest on July 31 - August

Thompson's table

A wide variety of radios on display on Bill Thompson’s table, during the June 2015 ARCI swap meet. (Both photos by Daniel Schoo, for the ARCI)

2, 2015 at the Quality Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Burr Ridge, Illinois. This event celebrates the Zenith Radio Company which was a big part of Chicago industry, beginning in the early 20th century.

Radiofest is one of the largest gatherings of radio collectors in the United States. Collectors from across the country, Canada, Europe and Australia gather annually for this festival. The Burr Ridge site of Radiofest is located along the I-55 corridor, no more than 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, and Midway and O'Hare airports.

Radiofest opens with a large radio auction Friday at 6:30 P.M. Top of the line radios, rare advertising, vintage television and phonograph items are the often featured fare. The public is welcome to sell their radios at the auction for a nominal charge. Registration for the auction begins at 3:30 P.M..

Saturday morning starts early with the radio flea market opening. The Center will be filled with radios, phonographs, televisions, parts for restorations and, for many, nostalgic memories of the past. Also on Saturday, Antique Radio Collectors of Illinois will provide free "Radio Appraisals". The public can bring in actual radios or pictures of their radio, and experts will advise them of condition, the age of the radio, suggestions for restoration and an approximate value.

Radiofest also offers educational seminars to club members (annual dues are $25 and include the group's newsletter). This year's Festival sessions include:

  • Zenith Radios Revealed by Gilbert Hedge author of “The Early Zenith Radios: An overview of the very first Zenith Radio models ever produced, with discussion of their design and tips for repair and restoration.
  • WWII Era POW QRP by David Cripe – The story of Russell Hutchison, a WWII GI who constructed clandestine radio equipment while being held prisoner in a Philippine POW camp.
  • Ham Radio Forum by Bill Ross - Topics of interest for amateur radio enthusiasts, with a door prize drawing for participants at the conclusion of the presentation.
  • Radio Collection Preservation by Gilbert Hedge – Learn how to make your radio collection live on for future generations, regardless of the disposition of the radios themselves.
  • Vacuum Tube Audio Forum by Pete Nauseda– An informative Q&A session of repairing and maintaining vintage high fidelity equipment.
  • Radio Clinic by Ed Huether – An informal, open clinic covering radio repair topics, welcoming questions and offering advice.

Saturday's events include a display of rare and unusual radios and other items during the annual Equipment Contest. This temporary museum features rare examples of radios and related memorabilia typically not seen by the public. This year’s display will include a special exhibit with rare and seldom seen Zenith radios, advertising and memorabilia. Saturday evening concludes with an awards banquet and entertainment by Those Were the Days Radio Players. The troupe of performers will present comedy and drama programs based on original scripts from the 1930s to 50s.

Radiofest concludes Sunday morning with a flea market in the morning. In addition, there will be a donation auction with the proceeds benefiting the ARCI. Radios and related items are sold at the auction without reserve, often as low as $5.

There is no general admission fee for any of the selling areas, and the public is invited to attend. Boy & Girl Scouts in uniform may attend all activities free of charge, except the banquet.

For more information, visit the ARCI website at or call 630-739-1060.