MidWest Midwest Regional Meeting Planning thread

Discussion in 'Mid West Regional Discussion' started by Jedi_Dajuan, Jun 13, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. LukeSkiewalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2003
    star 4
    Did I miss something or are you referring to another Luke? :confused:
  2. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    *** "We have a park in mind for the BBQ, as well as a hospital" ***

    Well, I hope no one needs the hospital!


    I thought you meant that about the food, sorry!
  3. Darth_Djinn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2004
    star 3
    I think its another Luke cause the hospital reference was made by WedgesOtherNephewthe CR from Evansville, IN
  4. Darth_Djinn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2004
    star 3
    this was the reason for the hospital statement
  5. gandalfbmg Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 2
    I don't know what the minimum is to still apply for the group rate block, but if that 20-30 can be split (the minimum for Comfort Inn is 10, as I've learned from our wedding preparations - oh, and they ususally don't care if you don't have the exact number up front... just that you reserve the minimum, and if they have any left they'll add them on to your group as needed), I would suggest doing a portion of the rooms at a more 'normal' hotel like Super 8 or whatever, and the remaining portion at a more 'high end' place like the Embassy Suites or whatever.

    For one, this would allow the folks who want to splurge a bit on their vacation to do so. Also, just crunching some hypothetical numbers, it might also be an option for some of the folks keeping to a tight budget.

    Super 8 - room fits two people - $50
    $25 each

    Embassay Suites - rooms fits 4 people - $120
    $30 each

    Just a sugestion, for what it's worth.
  6. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    Bah, too much blue in here for my little wedding-planning soaked brain to handle, sorry my mistake!

    Gand, I think that's a good idea and I will look into doing just that when calling around. I'll do my best to keep the placed near eachother as well.
  7. WedgesOtherNephew Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah, I thought it was just a random comment by J_D about the hospital....so I said what I said, obviously hoping we don't need one! :p

    Now I understand the idea to visit a children's hospital in costume! :)

  8. GsWookie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2005
    star 1
    This sounds great! (& affordable) I'm all for it. :D
  9. hothie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2004
    star 2
    Sounds good with the hotels. Put me down for an Embassy Suite. Paying a little extra is well worth it. So, are we talking 3 days, so I'll have to take extra time off of work for traveling, or what? Well, I guess I shouldn't even worry about it for now, who knows where I'll be next year!
  10. LukeSkiewalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2003
    star 4

    Just so you know I was able to find several 3 star hotels (same class as Embassy) for under $70 (and a $3.5 star for less than $80) a night by checking online. Speaking of which blocking rooms really won't be that advadtageous for us in regards to rate. Blocking rooms usually does give you some discount but not usually all that much. Especilially on weekends. Leisure stays (weekend business) are usually one shot events and most hotel's could take or leave that business with the execption of cities such as Orlando, LA, and New York that high levels or tourism. Your best rate is always going to be found online. At my wife's hotel they give a decent discount for going online to book reservations versus calling. She is the reservations manager and she makes every effort possible to never give anyone the online rate unless they are having problems with the website.

    We will be able to start booking rooms for the 9-11 in about 26 days on most travel websites. Just thought I would throw that out there. Especially for people like me who have no desire to share a room. ;)
  11. Malo-ha Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2003
    star 2
    Cleveland to St. Louis driving, 9 hours: Southwest Airlines hub at both cities, direct flight 2 hours (? time zones) currently as low as $71 roundtrip. [face_thinking] Doable. Poor Southwest, can't you just imagine all of us on the same flight.

    I'd like to throw out the suggestion of trying to get some kind of meeting room at one of the hotels. No food or anything, just a room with tables and chairs. That way there would be a space to congragate in betweeen events that we wouldn't be expected to buy something to sit down. Many hotels have a VIP lounge on specific floors or even one of the conference rooms. Often the hotel is willing to throw that in for cheap or free if enough people are staying there. If we had a speaker the event could be held in the room. After attending several Farscape Cons I know how much can be accomplished with just a few dollars.
  12. WedgesOtherNephew Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2002
    star 4
    ^^ I like the idea of the conference room, which brings me to my next point. Jedi_Dajuan suggested I post these ideas here to see what the interest was, and to perhaps get volunteers for certain things...

    What are everyone's thoughts on building on this as a mini-con since we are talking about a whole weekend, and focus on some SW stuff in addition to the BBQ, Children's hospital visit, & St. Louis tour:

    - Collecting Panel
    - Costuming Panel
    - EU/Books Panel
    - Fan Films
    - Movie Screenings (could be SW or even something at the theater)
    - A SW keynote speaker...author or something..
    - FF related stuff like advertising & fundraisers
    - etc.

    Just brainstorming...of course we may be limited by time, etc.
  13. DarthJurist Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2000
    star 5
    A lot of that will depend on how many people actually come to the event and how long they are staying, but it's certainly possible to incorporate some con-like features. It seems like there's quite a few people looking to come for the whole weekend, so it might make sense to have events Friday night - Sunday morning. I'm guessing we won't know what people would want to discuss/chat about until closer to the event.

    Rather than a conference room that may not be available for the whole weekend, one option is to see if one of the hotels has suites available that could double as HQ/crash space for the organizers and social space for everyone else. But if we are going to have organized events at a hotel, it would probably make sense to have everyone at the same hotel, or have the two hotels as close together as possible. Essentially we'd be creating our own con-suite.

    Since arrival times will vary, I'd vote for showing fan films or a movie screening Friday night, so people feel free to come and go or chat. Saturday morning/afternoon would be the group BBQ or trip to hospital or site seeing. Saturday night could be a variety of activities, depending on what people want to chat about.

    As for a SW guest, I?ll admit I?m not real keen on that idea. I?ve seen enough SW or other con celebs, and I always have MUCH more fun hanging out with my friends (new and old). Not to mention we?d have to pay for their hotel room and play host all weekend.

    Hmmmm... I wonder if we could borrow the Carbon Chamber floor from my club so everyone can get their picture taken.

    ~H~
  14. navarre1095 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2005
    star 4
    St. Louis has been the site for many a killer con. It's an excellent central location and easy to get to. If I may be so bold, If you guys did this as a charity fundraiser you may be able to pick up some guests gratis or for a small fee and a plane ticket.
  15. hothie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2004
    star 2
    I'm all for the mini-con ideas, as I think the more events that are planned, the more interest it may generate. Of course, I don't have the responsiblity of planning any of this, so I don't know the headaches that such a venture would generate. If you need extra funds for making such things happen, I'm not against paying extra for it. Have you considered contacting Mary Franklin, or perhaps Steve Sansweet for organizational ideas?
  16. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    Drury Inn and the Hampton Inn are two places that I called and they said they do group rated for 10 rooms or more. I left messages so I should hear back soon. Just a single room rate normally is about $130 a night. It seems like anything in the city proper will be about that much, unless you want to go to the bad part of town.

    Any one throw me some names of relatively cheap hotels I can look up, or even you look up and tell us the scoop? Google has a local look up now that's pretty handy, I used that in searching these places out. The area I'm thinking of is near Union Station. That's a old re-done train station turned mall/tourist attraction. It has stores, a metrolink stop, is is the better part of town, and is very well known in the area.



    Mini-Con

    Here's what I'm thinking about that. I like the idea a lot, but I worry about getting stuck planning all of it (well, me and my crew). The local stuff like hotels and booking places I'm totally fine with because that makes sense for people who know the area to do that. If we can turn the con part into a big team effort I say we do it. That also opens the question of advertising beyond to just FanForce, do we invite others in this? And if we do, do we charge them something to defer the costs we will be encountering (like for hotel lounge space or food at the BBQ).

    If nothing else I like the idea of talking FanForce "management" issues like membership, advertising, problem users (what to do with them), fundraising, etc. I think we all will be able to benefit from a little shop talk in making our chapters survive after RotS.
  17. navarre1095 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2005
    star 4
    I've got some experience in event planning. I'm willing to do what I can to help.
  18. GsWookie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2005
    star 1
    See... told ya it was do-able! ;)
  19. GsWookie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2005
    star 1
    This sounds like it's getting to be a pretty big deal. I have a few concerns regarding the money issue. I think I just don't know enough about Cons and Charity Events and such to answer my own questions... and I understand that everyone would be responsible for their own trave/lodging but if the FanForce takes in money to pay for showing the fan films, getting a conference room, reserving a shelter, etc. What happens if there is a profit or loss made from that? Obviously, there are concerns with non-profit status & taxes on income. I would imagine that StL FF is 501(c) and has established funds and such for goings-on such as these correct? Who is going to be financially responsible for all of this? I know that a BBQ and touring StL & the Hospital stuff is easy enough, but as for the other suggestions.... I just don't know.

    I guess I would just like someone to put my mind at ease regarding these issues....
  20. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    I can almost guarentee there will be no profit. After planning an event with a theater here, even though it was supposed to be covered by the theater, we all ended up sinking our own money into it for extra things.

    What do you mean by this: "I would imagine that StL FF is 501(c)"?

    Honestly, at this time we have no event planning funds. We've been talking about establishing some, but haven't gotten it off the ground yet.

    As for who is finanically responsible, I don't know. Usually for our events, one person fronts the money and gets paid back later. I think this time that might not work because we're talking more that the usual $50 it costs. I suppose we could do it a couple ways:
    1) Have one person incharge of all the money issues. S/He collects all the cash as needed, pre-pays for things as needed, and straightens everything out after the fact. Good: less room for cross communication errors. Bad: that's a lot of stress and responsibility to put on one person.
    2) Choose different people to be incharge of different financial aspects with one person keeping track of the others. The person keeping track can just over see the others making sure everything is paid on time and being the main communicator between people. We could use people from a couple different FanForces too even things out (or however we work it out). Good: Less pressure on a single person or FanForce. Bad: possible communication errors and confusion on who to pay for what.
    3) Everyone for her/himself.

    I think choice 2 would be the best, we would have to work out the details soon. I think we have developed a small planning crew with KC and StL, ideally I would like to have a person from every interested FanForce on the planning crew to make the traveling, hotel and money arrangements easier.
  21. DarthJurist Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2000
    star 5
    Getting that tax status takes quite a bit of time, I doubt it could be done for next year, not to mention I don't think Dajuan and her group are willing to go that direction.

    Most of the low key events can probably be done through donations/contributions of the people attending. For the fan films, on a basic level we'd need someone to bring in a DVD player and possibly a TV since not all hotel TVs have the ports on the back. As for the conference room or suite, that would probably only work if the hotel gave it to us for cheep or free, or if it was also crash space for some of the people attending.

    No matter what we do, I'm guessing that everyone will probably be asked to make a small donation of some kind to cover some costs, how much will depend on what's been planned, if breakfast is available, etc.

    ~H~
  22. WedgesOtherNephew Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2002
    star 4
    Jedi_Dajuan wrote:

    Mini-Con

    Here's what I'm thinking about that. I like the idea a lot, but I worry about getting stuck planning all of it (well, me and my crew). The local stuff like hotels and booking places I'm totally fine with because that makes sense for people who know the area to do that. If we can turn the con part into a big team effort I say we do it. That also opens the question of advertising beyond to just FanForce, do we invite others in this? And if we do, do we charge them something to defer the costs we will be encountering (like for hotel lounge space or food at the BBQ).

    If nothing else I like the idea of talking FanForce "management" issues like membership, advertising, problem users (what to do with them), fundraising, etc. I think we all will be able to benefit from a little shop talk in making our chapters survive after RotS.


    I am up for about anything, but my first impression is to still make it a FF regional meeting/mini-con only. I just thought a few more SW activities might be great. I think costs will depend on exacltly what we do, and each "person" should be charged accordingly (food, special rooms or activities, etc.). Lodging should be handled seperately IMO. Love the idea about "Management issues."

    Dajuan also wrote:

    I think we have developed a small planning crew with KC and StL, ideally I would like to have a person from every interested FanForce on the planning crew to make the traveling, hotel and money arrangements easier.

    Sounds good, I would be that person for Evansville. Also, the more activities you choose, different FF's can be in charge of the activities...ie one FF in charge of "Collecting Panel", one in charge of "Costuming", etc. These can be short presentations put on by each FF with some round table discussion...nothing real major, or not at all if we don't think it will work, but once again E'ville would volunteer to do a panel. Ultimately, after the discussion, I can forsee an agenda primarily put together by St. Louis, with whatever help they need farmed out to attending FF's.

  23. gandalfbmg Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 2
    I like the idea of having some kind of 'mini-con', but I think more of a small FF 'professional' convention. Like GsW, I worry about trying to turn it into something bigger, inviting the general public because then there's just too many complications. But I think that we could see about having 'workshops' for the various FF'ers attending: Costuming, Collecting, and espeically the FF leadership workshop... All that we'd require then is a space to hold them in (and if we've got a decent hotel or two, I would think we could get a conference room there for a while without too much trouble, especially on a weekend). Other than that I think it should just be social activities (except for the charity stuff like the hospital).
  24. hothie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2004
    star 2
    Personally, I lean towards making it a FF only gathering, unless you are talking about recruiting as well. I believe the original idea was for FF only, and I think we should stick with that, at least for the inaugural meeting. I like the idea of doing con-type stuff, but keeping it among SW fans.
    Some of Ely's (Dajuan, you met her at C3) volunteer time was spent with Michael Sheard, and she said that he loves doing stuff like this. Logistically, I don't know how feasible it would be to invite him, as I believe he lives in England (Ely will correct me on this) but he might come if he lives somewhat nearby. Just a suggestion.
    Is there a post for this on the starwars.com meetup boards?
  25. navarre1095 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2005
    star 4
    a 24-hour video lounge is always a good idea. There's nearly always some videophile around dying to show off his/her collection of obscure viewing. Some hotels will allow you to remove the bed from a guestroom. A big screen can be rented from Rent One or RTO for the weekend. They'll deliver and set up.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.