Archon 27 was held over the weekend of October 2-5, 2003, at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville, IL, one of the Metro East suburbs of St. Louis. This is one of the Midwest's largest conventions, and this year it was expanded to include Thursday, instead of just being the usual three days. The change created some confusion in the scheduling, but nothing disastrous.
We arrived at 5PM on Thursday and went to our motel to check in. Then we went over to the convention center. Although we weren't able to load our merchandise into the dealers' room until Friday morning, we could take care of registration and art show set-up.
I already had my packet of art show paperwork, so I just had to find my table and set out my art. The art show director had brought in some nice food for the artists and art-show volunteers, and had it set up at the front table. While I was waiting to turn in my paperwork, two very officious people from the convention center stormed in and ordered her to throw the food away at once, claiming that it was "illegal" to bring outside food into the convention center. She got a couple of volunteers to take the food just outside the door and give it away so it didn't completely go to waste. But there was a question as to whether it would ruin the artists' reception that was to be held later that evening.
Since the line at registration was unbelievably long, we decided to get supper first. So we went to the Bob Evans across the street and had a good supper. When we got back, the line at registration was still out the door. We decided to go ahead and wait, since we didn't want to have to deal with it while we were bringing merchandise into the dealers' room.
Apparently there had been some mechanical problems and all the badges were in a jumble, rather like the mess at Duckon IV. While I was waiting, I got my Palm Pilot out and made some substantial progress on my con report. Once we finally got our badges, we went back to the art show to get my artist ribbon. We saw a warmer on the front table, which would indicate that the artists' reception would indeed have food. Those things taken care of, we found comfy seats and settled in to read the program book and wait for the artists' reception.
As it turned out, the artists' reception did have some pretty good food. However, we had a bit of a to-do about it. Apparently the reception wasn't really supposed to start until certain people got back from opening ceremonies, which were running late, but there was no one at the table to warn people off. So we helped ourselves, only to have a woman come running up to us all upset that we weren't supposed to be starting in on it yet. After we pointed out that nobody told us that we weren't supposed to help ourselves yet, she told us that it wasn't obvious that we'd taken food and to just hide the evidence. So we slipped off and ate what we'd picked up. We also took the opportunity to look at the art before heading back to our motel room and turning in for the night.
Friday morning started very early as we got up in time to get to the dealers' room the moment it opened for dealer set-up. As it turned out, we got there way early and ended up sitting around waiting for things to start.
Once the dealers' room actually opened, we were able to secure a second cart from the convention center, which really sped up the process of loading in. That was particularly nice because there was rain coming, although as it turned out the main part of the system went to the south and we only got a light rain.
Once we got the merchandise in, we had to get everything set up. We were able to get it all ready before the doors opened for the public, and even had some time to spare. I got a notebook out and made some notes for a story I want to write later.
Sales were fairly brisk, and we even sold a couple of items that we'd been carrying around for ages. But there were also some lulls in which I was able to sit and write. Since the dealers' room was open so late, we got some take-out from Bob Evans for supper. We had to sneak it into the dealers' room in a bookbag because the convention center was being so officious about not allowing outside food and drink. They were so annoying that it became a game to get past them.
After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we went over to the Holiday Inn for the parties. When we got there, it was still too early for parties, so we found a comfortable seat in the lobby and settled in to wait. I got out my Palm Pilot and updated my con report.
However, none of the parties started on time. After making a couple of rounds of the Holiday Inn corridor in search of an open party, we finally gave up and headed back to our room in the nearby cheap motel to get some shut-eye.
Saturday we got up and headed back to the convention center to get our tables open for business. We had a fairly busy day, although a lot of it was small sales that kept us busy but didn't turn in a lot of revenue. However, we did have a few fairly large sales, including a couple of big book sales that took our book backstock down fairly nicely.
After the dealers' room closed for the day, we headed up to the nearby Chinese buffet to have supper. After we'd pigged out very thoroughly, we just headed back to our room in the motel and turned in for the night. There wasn't any evidence of good parties in the offing, but Archon's never been a great convention for parties anyway.
Sunday we got up early and got our stuff out of our sleeping room. Once we were checked out of the hotel, we headed over to the convention center. Sales were rather slow, but we did get a couple of good ones while we were packing. I also retrieved my unsold art from the art show.
Once the dealers' room closed, we got a volunteer to help us and got everything out in excellent time. After one last quick check to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything, we hit the road for home.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.