Announced attendance: 6789. Roughly 15% larger than last year, iirc. Frankly, it didn't feel as crowded. Aside from the massive influx of people trying to register on the July 4 holiday (wait times were four hours or more), the steps taken to alleviate the crush of people seemed to work.
On the other hand, this con seemed more drenched in alcohol. Drinking has always been a part of the con, and excessive drink an undercurrent, but this year more people that I read online or encountered in person seemed to brag about it and just assume that getting drunk was part of the con experience. Humph.
I had a great time. Carole and I took it easy and commuted. We left when we wanted to, got sleep, food and showers. Highlights, in no apparent order:
• Courtney McClean and the Dirty Curls. I've seen Courtney's band play several times over the years, but this was the first performance I've seen with a full six-member ensemble. The harmonies were great, the songs funny and risque. Wonderful.
• All four of my panels were fun, and the two radio panels were erudite, humorous and chock-filled with good advice. On the "Convergence 101" panel, I was an Elder, who had been to more cons than anyone else on the panel, and gave the Inside Scoop to first time congoers (eg explaining why old-timers called the hotel "The RadiShTree"). The "Ask A Scientist" panel, designed to explain things to five-year-olds, was great, and the five-year-olds were rapt.
• The two digeridoo players in an impromptu concert. Music popped up all over the place. I tried to get the dulcimer player to join the digeridoo players, but the moment passed.
• Randomly ducking into parties and making friends.
• Opening Ceremonies was lots of fun. Easy to get a seat, and they nicely balanced entertainment with proffering necessary information.
• The MN-StF party was packed with interesting people and good food.
• The official con photographers. Of which I was not one. That freed me up, journalistically speaking. I didn't feel the need to get pictures of, for example, Opening Ceremonies. They had that covered. My usual method is to wander peripatetically and take photos of whatever interests me or of something I haven't seen before. I posed a lot of people, and captured many moments on the fly. I still experienced a lot of the con, but didn't worry if I missed anything. I had fun.
Public Facebook Galleries:
20130703-4 Convergence Wednesday and Thursday
20130705-07 Convergence Friday, Saturday and Sunday