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How to Throw a Party at Balticon FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

(In no particular order of importance.....)
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1. What kind of party is allowed? Does it have to be a Worldcon bid party?
2. What is a WorldCon Bid Party?
3. How should I decorate for the party?
4. How should drinks be kept cold?
5. How can I do some before-the-con shopping?
6. Are flyers needed to pass out during the party?
7. How should I advertise the party?
8. Should I bring my own knives?
9. What about refrigeration during transport to the hotel?
10. What if I forgot something?
11. What should I use for party stickers?
12. Where is the best place to get party food supplies?

1. What kind of party is allowed? Does it have to be a Worldcon bid party?

Any kind of party is allowed, it does not have to be any specific kind of party as long as a few simple rules are followed. (See questions __, ___, and ____.

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2. What is a WorldCon Bid Party?

WorldCons are selected based on a popular vote of the membership of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) and the decision is made and announced at the WorldCon 3 years (this might change) in advance. In order to inform the membership of the various attributes that a particular site has, parties are held at conventions all around the world by the committees dedicated to winning a worldcon bid (or their supporters, to be more precise). This is an attempt to influence the voters and is most often done by bribing them with food and sometimes alcohol in a manner known as the bid party. These are fun and generally a good way to meet a lot of people from the various bids and make up your mind which group you want to join and/or support in their efforts.

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3. How should I decorate for the party?

The first rule for party decoration is that hotel property should not be removed or damaged. The bed can be removed if arrangements are made in advance with the hotel via the party maven. If you move the bed on your own to the side of the room, you will be responsible for replacing it just like you found it...
The second rule for party decoration is that there are really no other rules.
Your imagination is the real limit - how much effort do you want to put in and how do you want to present your theme? (remember rule #1, do not damage any hotel property, this includes [but is not limited to] the bathtub, the carpeting, and the walls.)

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4. How should drinks be kept cold?

Our research has shown that there are three accepted methods: the bathtub lined with shower curtains, muck buckets, or cheap styrofoam coolers at the grocery store and abandon them at the end of the con.

  • Why do you need a liner at all? (And if you do, wouldn't a plain old garbage bag be cheapest?)
    • This is to avoid scratching the surface of the bath which can be very expensive in a hotel.
      • (cans and some glass bottles will do this)
    • The trick is to line the bath with towels, then put down a liner or garbage bag, then the ice then the drinks.
    • [Anyone throwing a party in a hotel should be required to go to the local Home Renovation Superstore and look at the prices of the tubs that hotels use.]
  • Alternatively using a large container rather than the bath can also work as it can be kept in the main part of the party room allowing access to the bathroom.
  • If you want ice to put in the drinks, it's best to use a smaller container. If you can't find a cheap cooler, a clean plastic wastebasket works. (You can even line the one in your hotel room with a plastic bag.)
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5. How can I do some before-the-con shopping?

If you are coming from a long distance away, you need local transportation - Rent a car or van to do your shopping; you'll save money in the long run. U-Haul has a deal where you can rent a van for just under $20/day plus mileage. The trick is to stack your shopping so you hit stores all in the same direction.

Need loads of info on stores close to Balticon:

  • Grocery Store
  • Liquor Store
  • Sodas
  • Party Goods
  • Printing (Kinko's)
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6. Are flyers needed to pass out during the party?

No matter what the turnout is, not everyone is going to want to take a flyer because they'll have to carry it around as they party-hop. That should be the least of your worries. It is a nice-to-have for memento collectors and to advertise whatever it is your party is about.

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7. How should I advertise the party?
I also have a layout for a poster/notice to announce the party. Any ideas on how many copies I would need here?

I know that one generally leaves them on the various message boards and then on various floors in the hotel. I also have a note to remind myself to notify those printing the Worldcon updates, about the party, preferably early on Saturday.

The sign shop at the convention is not geared for that kind of thing, but there is a Kinko's in walking distance, and a CVS for sign making materials, too.

Do it right and you can put on an expensive-looking party for dirt cheap prices.

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8. Should I bring my own knives to cut up the crudites (substitute anything you might want to carve here)?

If you are flying, be careful where you pack these, and be prepared for an extra search. You can also get cheap knives at many of these stores (See section 5 above) that'll be adequate for your tasks. For a cutting surface, I highly recommend those ultra flat cutting mats. They take up virtually no room in a suitcase.

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9. What about refrigeration during transport to the hotel?

Decide what you want to serve and stack your shopping trip. Keep perishables sheltered and cold.

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10. What if I find I forgot something?

The ConSuite and Green Room are likely to be using most of their serving bowls and similar supplies most of the time, but if you run short of one or two things on party day, please give them a visit before you go out and spend money to cover an urgent need. They might (no promises) be able to help with a loaner.

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11. What should I use for party stickers?

First, you need to decide whether you actually need them or not. Some people at conventions like to collect stickers on their badge just to show what a wild time they have had. They become sort of a status symbol to show evrybody how many parties you have attended. They are a reminder later of all the places you have been and quite possibly a memory jogger about people you have met.

One of the main reasons _to_ sticker, besides promoting a bid, is to minimize ghostly crashers -- i.e., if they don't have a badge to put a sticker on, you can more easily turn them away. This helps promote the need for people to buy memberships at conventions. If your party isn't a bid party, you don't really _need_ badge stickers at all. And having to have somebody do door duty with them is a pain you probably don't need. if you go to a decent stationery store, you should be able to source reasonable sized stickers on sheets for printing on (i.e. smaller than address label).

A good source for "party stickers" is a teacher's supply store. You can get five or six hundred little stickers of, for example, animals, for about $2.

Definitely. We did this once, in a pinch...those kinds of stickers are flashy and fun. :-) The problem we found with them was that they weren't really specific. Geri Sullivan directed me toward a company that makes sticker stock that can go into a color deskjet printer, and that was what we used to make "Uncle Lensman" stickers for the Boston in 2004 bid (and some other silly, amusing, and rude stickers, too).

I suggest checking out Oriental Trading. They have great kitsch.

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12. Where is the best place to get party food supplies?

I'd avoid buying food at a "Dollar" store, though -- we have found many of the food items to be very stale. There's great for housewares and such, however.

Well, they have to allow people to transport knives somehow. (I once checked a package of *only* knives when my mother-in-law gave me her old good kitchen set after she bought a new set.) However, you can get cheap knives cheaply. :-)

If you are having an open party, advertised on the party boards and in the daily news, you can expect to have crowds. Not all of them will stay long. Many won't take fliers. But I'd say 200, at a minimum. (You don't have to fold them.)

Re Posters. It depends on how widely you want to advertise the party. At least one or two for every floor of the hotel. Because this is a multi-hotel con, you probably want posters for the other hotels, too.

On the other hand, you could hold a more exclusive, semi-invitational party. (The Japanese fans did this for years before they started a Worldcon bid; they were still huge parties, but not so huge as their bidding parties are.) You print up _invitations_ (quarter- or even eighth-sized sheets of paper will do) and you give one to everyone you know/meet at the con before the party. Everyone involved in the party should have a stack to hand out, and if there are only a few of you, you might ask some other, well-connected fans to pass out invitations for you, too. This cuts down on ravening hordes and helps to assure that only people who already have some interest in your group show up. You might, for example, put copies of the invitation inside the copies of the clubzine, and then put those out in the fan lounge.

One can now buy rather nice disposable serving bowls and things. But you might want to consult with some other party givers to see what you can pool. A large tip to a bellman will make it easy to acquire extra ice and maybe some other things you might want to borrow from the hotel. Also, of course, help in lugging in the party supplies.

A tip to the hotel maid after the party is essential. The more mess, the bigger it should be.

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