Why Kickstarter and crowdfunding? One of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve received in recent years was multiple requests to bring more prominent celebrity guests to Farpoint and we decided that our 2016 convention will be the year to give this a try. We investigated the costs of bringing in some of these guests and found that on average guests at this level cost $25,000 at a minimum and many are in the range of $30,000 and up. Right now, we have funding in place to stage Farpoint Convention 2016 at our regular level of activity. And that’s okay, but to reach out for more prominent guests means a need for additional incoming funds. Our two main options for funding are (a) raise membership prices or (b) fundraising. Our weekend membership price has stayed the same for the last 4 years. We appreciate our members are spending their hard-earned money at Farpoint each year and the 2016 prices have already been announced. This brought us to raising money through a crowdfunding project, our #FARPStarter!
We have designed reward levels at multiple price points. The rewards will provide attending convention members the opportunity to “turbo charge” their Farpoint experience through special rewards and activities or allow long-distance members the chance to participate as never before via live-streaming some of our main events. We appreciate your help and interest; every contribution is important, whether you can donate or simply share our project page link with your social network. Thank you for supporting Farpoint Convention!
Thank you to all of our members and guests who helped make Farpoint 2015 a wonderful convention. We welcomed 659 people through the door, holding our own as far as attendance, which is good.
Colin Ferguson, Tim Russ and Timothy Zahn all had nothing but superlatives when leaving. They enjoyed meeting all of you as much as you enjoyed meeting them, and they hope to be invited back for a future event. Tim Russ, especially, was wonderful in his guest starring role with Prometheus Radio Theatre on Friday night. If you missed “The Maltese Vulcan” it will be podcast by Prometheus Radio Theatre sometime soon. You can subscribe to the PRT podcast on their website, http://prometheusradiotheatre.com/
We received many compliments this year from members on the excellent and varied panel topics staged this year. This needs to be turned back around to the guests and members who both suggested topics but also participated on the panels. The contributions of our guests and members is priceless; we couldn’t do it without you all.
Photos from our official photographer have been added to our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FarpointCon). Please enjoy looking at them and feel free to share your own photos with us. There were some wonderful costumes on display this year, especially, that deserve a second or third look via photograph.
On to the not-so-good: our hotel sales manager and the general manager were both very embarrassed at receiving our reports on the poor quality of service we experienced this weekend. They both extend their apologies to us and to you all. Our discussions with them are ongoing, but we can tell you at this time that they have proposed ideas to apologize to all of you and show their appreciation should we decide to return in 2016. Farpoint will also be discussing our hotel experiences with the organizing committee of ChessieCon, which is held in the same hotel in November. Sharing information with them and monitoring their experience with the hotel this fall will show us if the promised improvements are in place.
Farpoint 2015 was a great show! Thank you again to our members and guests, and a special thank you to the Farpoint Committee, Staff and Helpers. Their dedication makes the convention happen every year.
We have gotten additional information from the hotel on restaurant and concession hours during Farpoint Convention.
-Northern Lights Restaurant: 6AM to 2PM; 4PM to 10PM with bar open until 2AM
-Cocktail Party Food & Drink cash bars: 7PM to 9PM in Greenspring Ballroom (wristbands must be purchased for $25 at Farpoint Registration for food bar; cash bar is ala carte)
-Concessions: 8:30AM to 8PM; 10PM to midnight
-*Northern Lights Restaurant: 6AM to 10PM with bar open until 2AM
-Atrium Cash Bar: 10PM to 12:30AM
-Concessions: 8:30AM to 11:00AM
-Northern Lights Restaurant: 6AM to 2PM; 4PM to 10PM
*Hopefully you are still reading this asterisked notice for Saturday night. The hotel is well aware of the challenge our group presents in getting several hundred people fed through a single kitchen and restaurant that seats only 80-100 people at a time. Beyond adding seating to the restaurant, they have a proposed plan for Saturday night that we’ve agreed to try this year to see how things go.
Normal restaurant, concessions and room service from 6AM to 5PM
Dinner buffet with “buffet to go” option, normal concessions, NO room service from 5PM to 9PM
Normal restaurant, concessions and room service from 9PM to closing times
The general manager and chef hope that concentrating service on the buffet during the most busy time will allow them to feed everyone as expeditiously as possible. They plan to “plus up” the offerings beyond their normal dinner buffet and offer the “buffet to go” option for people who wish to eat in their room. The hotel plans that the dinner buffet price will be all-inclusive (food, non-alcoholic drink and tip) so that people can pay eat, pay their bill and go.
We appreciate the hotel’s working with us on this important issue. Please give us feedback after the convention for your opinion on how this dinner service change works for you.
We met with the team at the North Baltimore Plaza Hotel a couple of weeks ago and have news! The owners have decided to join the Radisson hotel network and the hotel will become the Radisson Baltimore North at the end of February.
The good news for us is that we will be able to take advantage of some of the hotel refurbishments that have been going on:
-The sleeping rooms on the 1st and 2nd floor that still needed to be remodeled have been completed.
-The plumbing has been updated and the roof re-done. This should help with hot water availability and temperature control in the hotel.
-The kitchen has been updated with new stoves, convection ovens and refrigerator/freezers, and the dividing wall between the bar area and restaurant seating in the Northern Lights has been removed to add more tables. The kitchen and restaurant changes should help with food service efficiency. The hotel is providing us information on menus and food service hours soon and we will post that information when it is available and confirmed. We can confirm that the food concession stand is returning and will again have late Saturday night hours to feed our post-Masquerade munchies.
If you are following our Farpoint website, you may have noticed that we have updated our convention Rules and Policies. We review them each year prior to the convention and wanted to draw particular attention to this year’s changes.
We re-organized the list into sections covering Convention Memberships, Hotel & Conduct to make it easier for members to locate information on a specific rule/policy.
The advent of e-cigarettes and vapor pens caused us to confer with our hotel about the use of these new devices for smoking. The hotel has expanded their no smoking policy to include e-cigarettes and vapor pens, along with traditional tobacco products. Smoking of any kind must be done in the designated smoking areas outside of the hotel with the exception of the few smoking sleeping rooms available, which are assigned on a first come basis when you check in.
Farpoint is a convention about science fiction in its multiple forms and science fiction fans in their diversity of age, sex, orientation, religion, etc. We do not tolerate harassment or bullying of any kind and have updated our rules to specifically state this. It is sad that we need to specify in writing our requirements for members to treat each other with tolerance and respect, but unfortunately important in today’s society.
Please contact us with any questions you have about our convention rules and policies.
We hope this finds you well. Below are the top ten items to check off your list in preparation for joining us at the con this February.
1. Pre-register for the convention – you can register online at http://www.farpointcon.com/register-2/ or print out the flier (http://www.farpointcon.com/flier/) to mail your registration in. Your advantage to pre-registering is that you save money. Our advantage is that your pre-registration helps keep our pre-convention working capital healthy as we use the income from pre-registrations to pay our upfront costs such as equipment rental fees, hotel deposits and printing. The pre-registration deadline is January 31, 2015.
2. Book your hotel room – information about our hotel is found at http://www.farpointcon.com/hotel-information/. We recommend that you call the hotel directly at 410-252-7373 to reserve your room as the hotel website has been displaying glitches in accepting registrations at this time. The hotel reservation deadline is January 15, 2015.
4. Tell your friends you’re going to Farpoint and invite them to come, too – you’ll always find new friends at Farpoint, but bringing along someone from home doubles the fun!
5. Decide what items you will bring for Colin Ferguson and Tim Russ to autograph – this year all registered convention members receive one signature at no extra charge each day on an item they present at the actor’s signing table. Get Tim’s signature on your item on Saturday and Colin’s on Sunday as part of your convention membership fee. Both guests will have additional items for sale/signature at the convention and will also sign your additional items for a fee. The actor’s fees will be announced closer to the convention.
6. Check out the 2015 panel list on our website and volunteer to participate – the 2015 list is organized by program track and we invite you to consider being a panelist. The list should be hitting our website ASAP, but if you can’t wait write to us at email@example.com to request a copy.
7. Make plans to arrive on Friday – our programs start in the early afternoon and go on through Friday evening, with the Cocktail Party and Opening Ceremonies planned to start at 8:00 pm. The hotel’s famous all-you-can-eat fresh pasta bar will be available again (members must purchase a food wristband to partake of the buffet) along with a cash bar. Even if you eat elsewhere, attending the Opening Ceremonies is a must to see the presentation of the 2015 Volker/McChesney Award for Service to Fandom and a performance by Prometheus Radio Theatre with special guests Colin Ferguson and Tim Russ.
8. Start collecting books to bring for signing at the Friday Night Book Fair and during the weekend – the Friday Night Book Fair starts after the Opening Ceremonies. Our author guests, including Timothy Zahn, will be available at the Fair to sign your books and also at other times throughout the weekend. All our authors will be signing your books at no extra charge and will also have copies of their latest releases for sale at the convention.
9. Work on your costume for the hall and/or Masquerade – we are always looking for the new and next in costuming and cosplay. If you have a costume but would like to fine tune your presentation, make sure to check out the Saturday morning presentation workshop at the convention. Our panel of experts will answer your questions and help you tweak your presentation in plenty of time for you to register for the Masquerade on Saturday night!
10. Look in your closets for items to donate to the Charity Auction – instead of gathering dust or taking up space, please consider donating your extra collectibles to a worthy cause, The Julien Fleming Memorial Fund (www.jfmf.org). Please contact our Charity Auction coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know the item(s) you have to donate or to ask any questions.
We are looking forward to seeing you all in February!