Over Easter weekend Minicon celebrated it's 50th convention and a great time for all was had, mostly. I only wish I'd have gotten to more panels, parties, and games, but what I did get to was plenty of fun. This year I finally threw a party of my own at Minicon for those of us who go to the Winnipeg Folk Festival every July since 1987, and it was great to get so many people who have been going over the years together and also talk about it with those who haven't been.
I arrived at the hotel in the early evening on Thursday after spending hours both packing for the party and my own stuff. I drove my own car as Erin had to stay home until Friday to take care of some of her dog training business and finish packing herself, so I had the room to myself and contemplated taking a nap after I'd reserved a couple of panels for Erin in the art show. But I ran into Gregg Parmentier and Brian and Ange Anderson and we all decided to go have dinner at a nearby Fuddrucker's, where we had big burgers and talked for a couple of hours. Then it was back to the hotel and after some socializing in the consuite I got a text message from John Gamble saying his train was about to arrive in St. Paul at the Union Depot there, so I drove over to pick him up and take him back to the hotel and he also settled in to our room and we both stayed up for another couple of hours before turning in around 1am. No sense staying up all night the first night, and I knew I'd need my rest.
Friday morning I got up and after having some coffee in the room went off to the Green Room to look for Karen who had told me she was bringing some photos of hers to share at the Baggiecon party. I talked to Becca for a bit there and asked about serving instant tea for my party, and she said, no to that. But thankfully another person said she'd recommend a simple mix of cranberry juice and ginger ale for a quickie punch, and that sounded reasonable, so it was off to buy some party supplies at a nearby Lund's grocery store, where they had just what I needed. I still was waiting on Erin to arrive as she had more party supplies and a 10'x10' EZ-Up canopy to be used for the party too, and I was getting a bit worried after not being able to reach her on the phone when I did connect with her just as she was arriving at the hotel around 5:30pm, right as John and I were finishing up a quick dinner at the Burger King next to the hotel. So there was enough time for the party setup, thankfully.
We got back and Erin and I started getting things ready for the party, which mostly constituted putting up the EZ-Up and hanging lights from it like we do at the folk fest, and then putting out all the photos and other memorabilia like folk fest programs and Baggiecon programs from past years. That took about two hours, and then we put out some food and drink (inside a seven gallon water container like we use in camp) and a nifty fake fire pit to have a circle around. Then, ready for a rest, I got out my guitar and sat down to relax. Since there was a big reunion concert by Cats Laughing that started at 9pm, there wasn't a crowd for awhile, but soon enough there were people who came by to talk with about the folk fest and of course some Baggieconners from years past also stopped by. Here's a few pictures of our party setup out in the courtyard:
|The Baggiecon Camp, including spiffy faux firepit|
|Becca toasting a faux marshmallow over the 'fire'|
|Just like old times out on the prairie, almost|
|It was a great time|
Saturday morning I took my time getting up and got some grub in the consuite & coffee, and then after waking up more put the rest of the party gear away. Then after grabbing a bite to eat in the consuite, I crashed for a couple of hours back in the room. Then I roused myself after 3:30pm and went to hear some music, and heard Nate Bucklin and his band play a terrific set, although they were missing their lead singer due to an accident involving one of her children (who was not injured badly, thankfully). Nate had some new songs that were very good, and he also sang some of the best of his old ones. All the musicians backing him up were great too, and Nate's guitar playing was as sharp as ever. Erin later was given four new CDs of Nate's from Jeff Schalles, who produced them, and we're looking forward to listening to them.
After Nate's set was over there was a break for dinner, and Erin, John and I went over for a meal at a Chili's restaurant across the freeway from the hotel, and I was happy to be served a nice meal that was also not too long, so we were able to get back to the hotel in time for the next concert, by the Tooles, a band formed from some former members of Tramps and Hawkers and the addition of Amy McNally, a great fiddler from Chicago. They've recently formed but sounded very tight and they were having a blast playing up there on stage, and there was plenty of banter as well as an open bottle of whiskey, which was reopened a few times during the set too.
|The Tooles foolin' around havin' fun|
|Dave and Amy|
|Lojo, John and Adam|
|Teresa and Adam|
|Riverfolk and friends|
|Late-night music circle on Saturday|
For once I managed to sleep past 8am in the room and got about five hours sleep, I think. Erin was pretty bushed too, but got enough sleep herself and so did John. I have to say that not having the dogs with us this year was a Good Thing when it came to getting sleep, given how late we were staying up having fun. (We'd decided to leave our puppies at home this year since we were throwing the Baggiecon party and needed a cabana room, where pets were not allowed.) I foraged in the consuite for bagels and coffee and when Erin was up and dressed we headed up to the Dealer's Room and did some shopping there. We bought books from Greg Ketter at his Dreamhaven table and then browsed for some items and bought some notebooks and models and I bought a MidAmericon II t-shirt to wear there next year. I wish Phil Kaveney had been there selling his rare and unique books too, but sadly he's not been coming to Minicon for the past few years.
|A Dealer's Room tableau|
I wandered back to the room after that around 3:30pm, and soon after Dave Clement came in and Erin, John, Dave and I had fun just playing some music together. Erin always like singing with Dave and I heard from John that he'd been meeting regularly to sing too, and both he and Erin ended up looking up lyrics to songs on the internet to sing. A little after 6pm Dave headed back to his room with Erin and I spend a little time hauling some party gear out to the minivan.
|Dave, Erin and John in our room|
As it turned out, Erin and John wanted to play some games and I joined them for a game of Wizard out in the courtyard area where all the gaming tables (with games on them too) were set up. I was on the verge of winning when one of my opponents, Brother John, bid five on the very last hand to beat me by one trick. Well played, sir, well played. Then I left Erin and John to play some more and went to the Dead Dog and spend another couple of hours there listening to songs, including a few by Steve Brust which were hilarious, especially the one Adam Stemple requested he play that mentioned "Jane Yolen's castle", before turning in for the night sometime around 1:30pm, I think.
|The last of the gamers on Sunday|
|Becca having an uncomfortable moment with Adam for some reason...|
That's all folks... filks... fans... until next year.