Thursday, October 29, 2009
Images via the SteamCon Pool Flickr – all attributions belong to the original photographers!
I am, in real life, more than a bit anti-social. Or perhaps stranger-phobic, so I was waffling on whether or not to go to Steamcon right up to the last moment. In the end, I decided to go, and am very happy I did.
Friday was a bit of a mess, as the organizers had made it clear that there were only a few single-day tickets to be sold on Saturday and Sunday. If you wanted a whole-weekend pass, you had to get it on Friday, and there were rumors there was a cap there as well. So everyone turned up soon after registration opened, and the line was soon snaking through the lobby a very long ways.
It soon became apparent to everyone, that the con was going to be far more successful than the organizers had expected…I believe someone said that they had about twice as many people turn up as they thought.
The registration line took, for me, four hours. When we got closer to the front, you could see that they had one computer for registration, and they were printing the badges as they were needed. All-in-all, it was a mess, but as I was to find throughout the con, the attendees were all good-spirited and friendly, and even I managed to tolerate the wait.
There were a lot of very lovely costumes, and some not-so-lovely. As I had turned up in jeans, I felt quite underdressed.
The hotel was quite bursting at the seams, and I went off and attended several seminars for most of the evening, from a cooperative airship design session, to a fascinating look at actual 19th century firearms and their operation.
That evening was the Steamlands meet up, where there were probably 15-20 people in attendance from SL. Much squinting at people’s badges was done, as many people had their SL name on their badge. I spent much of my time lurking around the walls, but it seemed to go very well, and the only raised voices came from laughter.
Of course, that many more people, meant that much more crowded. I did not attend many seminars on Saturday, as each room seemed to be filled to bursting by the time I got there. They did have to start a line to regulate entrance to the dealer’s room, as it was getting over-packed.
There was a Tea Party and a concert by Abney Park on Saturday, and I’m afraid I missed them both, but I understand they were both (as is becoming a theme) packed houses.
I left about 7pm on Saturday, having all of the crowds I could manage, and I did not return on Sunday.
In all it was a great time…it’s definitely proven the viability of this sort of event, but it outgrew itself by the time the first hour of the con had passed. I’ll certainly make every attempt to go next year, but I do hope the organizers expand the venue, the dealer’s room, and vastly improve the speed of registration. (Note that the line for people who had pre-registered was usually 3-5 people instead of 200. Next year…pre-reg.)