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May
26
2008

Baycon 2008 review

On Saturday I was at Baycon 2008 and I thought I would give a review of the day for those who might want to attend this fun convention in 2009. Photos can be found on Flickr.

When: Memorial Day Weekend. May 23-26, 2008

Location: Hyatt Santa Clara. Easy to get to by Car. Not sure if there is any public transportation.

Cost: $45 for a single day ticket on Saturday. The price vary based on the day and time of day. In fact there was a $20 evening only ticket) It was cheaper to buy a ticket ahead of time as well as buy for more then one day.

Themes: Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention run by fans.

About:

BayCon is one of the five largest regional annual science fiction and fantasy conventions in the United States, and has been held annually since 1982. While BayCon has an emphasis on writing and art, attendees can also find things like costuming, hard science, music, gaming and much more.

Parking: FREE! The parking was FREE! I figured that it would overpriced hotel parking, but nope, it was not.

Attendance: The last number I heard was 1300 people attending. A small convention compared to Wondercon or Fanimecon, but enough to have lots of energy. On average the adults were 35+, but there were family and kids too. I figure the tweens and teens would be at the Anime Fanimecon. This holiday weekend also had Kublicon, an RPG convention*.

Panels: I went to two panels that I enjoyed and seemed to have a good number of folks in attendance. The artist guest of honor talked about there techniques of digital paintings, but I was having a good time and missed the talk.

Staffing: No problems. Helpful and professional.

Layout: The Hyatt has to basic problems of any hotel, the space is broken up. But the convention staff provided good material and signage to find what you were looking for.

Artist Alley: Artist alley consisted of 4 folks at table in the hall way outside of the Art Show and the Dealers Room. The impression I got from the folks I knew at tables (more then half) that sales were slow and the folks where somewhat hidden by many who passed by on their way to other places. On the other side the Artist Alley tables were very reasonable prices: “A place in the Alley can be yours for only $20!”

Art Show: The art show was mostly professional work and featured photos, traditional and digital art, and lots of art prints. The top sellers seemed to be prints and ones that featured elaborate scenes. The guest artist has some beautiful digital paintings as prints that were amazing work. I would be intersted to get a panel next year. The price per-space was quite reasonable. $17.50 for each 4’x4′ panel.

Dealer Room: Costumes, clothing, toys, Jewelery, and Collectibles. Did not spend much time but there seemed to be nice stuff. Heavy on jewelry and costume/clothing.

Costumes: Yes! Lost of hall/masquerade costumes. The theme was Pirates and they were in full force. Steam Punk was also very big this year. I wish I had my pirate gear on since it sure looked like fun to dress up.

Food: Usual hotel priced food. But the hotel had both a special menu as well as a quick service. The restaurant was filled up, but food could be ordered in the lounge as well. The food was quite tasty and high quality which made the slightly higher prices a lot more palletable. The quick service was buffett style and looked quite tasty. The pre-made sandwiches for lunched looked fine. There was fast food near by, but possibly would require driving. I am not 100% sure.

Parties: The convention had a Party Floor which had sponsored rooms and lots of great food and drink (booze and non-booze) which was a great way to mingle and have fun. Many rooms had games and videos playing. One party offered mixes of different soda and syrups while we watched costumes on the BCTV. Another party was toga themed and one was a Turkish tea featured Turkish Coffee and Mint Tea, Turkish Delight and Baklava. So much tastyness in such a short amount of time.

Entertainment: There was Boffers – Like pillow fighting with pillows shaped like swords and other weapons. Kids Activities – including arts and crafts. Gaming – RPG, Board, Cards, Video, LARP as well as the Iron Game-Designer Challenge. Writing Workshops, Readings, Fanzine Lounge, Anime Room, masquerade

And then in the evening you add Live Music, Dancing (Swing, Regency, Rock), Filk Music, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Party Floor (see above), Concerts and a Charity Auction and Casino to name a few. Oh and the reading of the Eye of Argon (so wonderfully bad it has to be read to be believed).

This was one of the highlights of the day and part of what makes the $45 price so worth while if you stay till late….there is lots to do. You can dance, listen to music, then go get some drinks on the party floor. It’s also great to find the quite spots and get to know like minded fans. There were lots of folks roaming around

Verdict: I would go next year if I can swing it. I had a good time and would want to do a hall costume too. It’s definitely a convention that is great if you can stay at the hotel and really amerce yourself in the experience. It’s a lot mellower then let’s say San Diego Comic-Con which makes it more intimate. It’s good if you are a fan of Dr. Who, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Pirates, Lord of the RIng, RPG games, etc. this is the convention for you.

As an artist I would definitely want to put some art prints and originals in the art show, but I would have to think about if I wanted an Artist Alley table, though the price is very reasonable. I would not go to the dealers room since I feel my work would get lost in there. This is not a convention to get notice by a publisher or the media, but a great place to build your fan base.

*Note: I wanted to give a shutout to my friend Joe who is at Kublicon this weekend running an RPG game called…Deppthulhu. Yes it’s H.R.Lovecraft mythology where you play a John Depp character. Very cool Joe.

12 comments

1 ping

  1. Karen says:

    Nice review Brian! I apologize for not hooking up with you again later… a friend felt ill and I had to take her back to Kublacon.

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks Karen. No problems. It was great to see you.

    How was Kublicon?

  3. Karen says:

    I was doing pick up and drop off for Kublacon. I didn’t actually attend. By the time I got back to Baycon, I was too tired from driving around all day that I passed on the dancing.

    $20 for an art table at Baycon is pretty cheap, but there was lots more traffic at Fanime. I scoped it out for a few hours. They have an artist alley that’s close in size to their dealer’s room! Granted, it’s mostly fan fic art for some anime or very manga influenced work, but there were several other comic genres present. It does depend on your audience and where you want to hang out after the art table is closed for the day.

  4. Brian says:

    I was tempted to check out FanimeCon, but I am not as interested in the Manga and Anime as some are. I know that there are other stuff there, but I’m guessing it’s in the minority.

    I would be curious of what role artist have at Kublicon as well.

    One nice thing about Baycon is that the after hours programing is pretty fun. There was more then enough to do.

  5. Doc says:

    hey this is doc from the itunes podcast: Heroes of Science Fiction and Fantasy, thanks for the review. The prices to be in artist alley seem very reasonable. Hopefully i will be able to make next years con. website http://www.heroesofsciencefictionandfantasy.com voicemail 1-206-333-1297

  6. Angie says:

    Just as a data point, the final reg count was 2100 and change, which is pretty good. 🙂

    Good review. I’ve been to every BayCon and always have a good time, but it’s fun seeing what other people had fun doing.

    Angie

  7. Aleric says:

    Replying to your comment about Fanime:

    You really wouldn’t need to be an anime person to have an artist table there. Their alley was HUGE and doing a fairly brisk business, even for those without an anime style. Kat and I had a great time…

  8. WhiteNymph says:

    I had a really good time at the parties both Friday and Saturday nights. I did roam around alot on Friday but mostly stayed and played with the Klingons in the Black Hole on Saturday. They throw one of the best parties and realy entertain you. The tall Klingon was my favorite as he sang. in Klingon, to me and danced with me as well.
    To bad the rooms were small, no ventulation and the hallways crowded.

  9. Brian says:

    Hey WhiteNymph,

    The rooms did seem small, and completely furnished from IKEA.

    The parties that were the most unique to me was the LosCos grape eating party and the Turkish tea. Plus the one room showing the masquerade of the past with the flavored sodas was pretty cool too.

  10. Lensman says:

    I made the huge mistake of trying to out drink the Klingons in their own bar. After hitting the panels on Saturday and attemtping to see the masquerade, I headed over to the Black Hole. Who knew the Klingons would have such a great bar. The placed was packed. I decided to make this my center of attention for the night. I hit one party then return to the Black Hole. Then out to another party and back to the Black Hole. Let me tell you this was a mistake. Tryign to out drink the Klingons and shut down their bar is a bad idea. I tried each and every drink they had, listen to some tall tales and some singing, I even tried a song myself. At 3am I couldn’t even remember what city I was in. Somehow I made it to the 12th floor and my room. The next day, well it started at 2pm for me. That was one long and noisy night. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

  11. Brian says:

    Ya, the Klingon’s are crazy. I don’t think I could ever be one. The party floor was definitely a highlight of the evening.

  12. Alison says:

    That is a great review!

    Sadly the hosts of the convention can not make the hotel revamp the size of their accommodations or their halls otherwise the party rooms would be large with enough room to walk through the halls easily in Costume. But the parties were still worth it.

    The one with the flavors and BCTV playing was the ultimate party for everyone. That would be the one Hosted by BayCon itself the Hospitality Suite.

    The one with the Toga Party would be Loscon’s the Los Angeles Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention which has as Fan Guest of Honor the Chair from this past years con Michael Siladi. That convention is held every year over Thanksgiving Weekend, November 28-November 30 this year.

    I had great fun at the Masquerade and at the concerts and dances myself as well. Family friendly was going nicely when I looked in on it. Wow! that gaming room was kicking it!

    Hope to see you all this coming year again at the Santa Clara Hyatt again over Memorial Day Weekend May 22-25, 2009. Last pricing I saw for the weekend was $50 but that may have gone up to $55 or $60. Keep checking on the Website http://www.BayCon.org in regards to the pricing.

  1. as joe cool says:

    as joe cool…

    Does anyone know where I can get a complete list of the Snoopy Peanuts On Parade Figurines?…

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