Conglomeration 4 was held over the weekend of July 6-8, 2004 at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center in Lexington, KY. We arrived on Thursday evening, since we wanted to get an early start on loading in the next morning. When we got there, we found the parking lot full of people with antique and custom cars, and soon discovered that they were from a street-rod event that had filled up every other hotel in town.
We got checked in, and then went over to the hospitality suite to find out just when the dealers' room would open for load-in. Things seemed to be going well, until we went up to our room and discovered it was in the pat of the hotel that could only be reached by going down a small flight of stairs. However, even a "small" flight of stairs may seem overwhelming to someone with injured knees, so we had to go back to the front desk and prod them into changing us to a different room. After that we were able to settle in for the night.
On Friday morning we got up painfully early and headed over to the convention center to get loaded in. We were able to pull our van up to the big door, but we weren't able to back it in, so loading in became that much more awkward. However, we were able to get things in reasonably quickly, and we had an excellent position where we were able to set up without much trouble, and had plenty of backspace in which to store our boxes.
Once we got everything set up, I went over to the art show and got my art set up. By that time the dealers' room was open for sales, so we settled in to do business. We had some decent early sales, and a number of our Louisville friends dropped by, including Tim Lane, Elizabeth Garrott and Joe Major.
After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed up to our room to eat the supper we'd brought with us. Then we went to the one and only party of the night, the Xerps party.
Saturday we got up bright and early and headed down to the con suite to have breakfast. When we first arrived, we thought that the con suite was closed, because the door looked shut. However, it was propped a little bit open, and someone inside told us to come on in. When we asked about the situation, we were told that one of the street-rodders had called the police to complain about the noise from the con suite. When the hotel offered to switch her to a different room away from the con suite, she refused because she wanted to stay in a room where she could see her car parked just outside.
After breakfast we headed over to the dealers' room to open our tables. Sales remained frustratingly slow, leaving me with far too much time to read an alternate-history manuscript a friend had brought. We also got the unhappy news that our would-be roommate had a scheduling conflict and wouldn't be able to attend.
After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed up to the room and ate the food we'd brought along with us. Then we went down to the con suite and hung out for a while. The TV was showing the movie Deep Impact, and we had fun nitpicking the logic holes. We also recognized a much younger Elijah Wood (Frodo).
Then we headed around to the various parties, including the Xanadu party (advertising a convention) and the Hobbit Hole party. At the Rivercon Retirement Party we had great fun swapping stories of outrageous encounters between fen and mundanes when cons share facilities with other events. We passed by the Ghostbusters party because it looked more like a human sardine can. The Keg Party had a black light, which bothered my eyes.
On Sunday we gathered up our belongings and got them out of our sleeping room. Then we went down to the con suite to get breakfast before heading over to the dealers' room to open our tables. We heard some rather interesting stories about how unhappy the street-rod people were at having to share the hotel with the convention. Fen were clearly not pleased with the street-rodders' attitude that we should bend over backwards to accomodate their every whim, while they should not be expected to make even the slightest adjustment to accomodate "those science fiction weirdos."
Sales continued to be frustratingly slow, although I did sell two pieces on the art show, which was a welcome discovery. We went ahead and started packing early, and actually had everything packed a little before the dealers' room actually closed.
As soon as the loading bay door opened, we pulled our van up to it and set to loading out. At least this time we were able to get some volunteers to help us, so we were able to get everything out reasonably quickly. Since we were ahead of schedule, we decided to make one last visit to the con suite before hitting the road home.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.