Duckon VIII was held over the weekend of June 11-13, 1999 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel O'Hare. This is the same hotel they were located in last year, with the "flood control" hump that made it difficult to load and unload things for the dealers' room. They had also started charging for parking, which made matters something of a nuisance. Because of this we made a special effort to be there as early as possible on Friday, so that we could get things inside quickly, particularly as there was rain in the forecast.
While we were unloading and hauling everything into the dealers room, the air was hot and very muggy. However, it did not remain that way for long. Shortly after we finished bringing everything inside and began setting things up, a storm came in. Several other dealers had to unload in pouring rain, which wasn't a pleasant experience.
I also had to get my art onto the art show. However, they were having some problems getting set up, and I ended up claiming a set of forms and taking them back to our dealer's table to fill them out. Only when I was finished with the paperwork and actually ready to hang my art did I take everything over to get it up.
Fortunately, registration was going smoothly (unlike the unpleasant mess with Duckon IV, when pre-reg badges were in an arbitrary order that made the line for pre-registered members longer than that for at-the-door registration) and I was able to get my badge and program booklet in a matter of minutes.
For the rest of the afternoon we sat table. Sales were decent but not remarkable. Our tables were located right on the path to the art show (which was located in a screened-off section of the huge chamber in which the dealers' room was located), so we had quite a bit of traffic past us. After the dealers' room closed, we headed over to the con suite for a quick visit, then up to the early parties. Sunshine was having the Cow Party again, and spread a feast big enough that it was almost like a light meal. The General Technics lounge also had a good selection of munchies.
We also squeezed in a quick visit to the hot tub before the pool closed, since we were sore after having lugged in all those boxes of books. The hot tub was quite hot, so hot that one could only spend a few minutes soaking before it was necessary to sit on the rim and cool down.
Saturday morning we got to the dealers' room early, giving ourselves some time after we got set up to wander and look at other tables before the doors opened to let everyone in. Sales continued at a slow but steady pace all day. Between customers I did some drawing in my sketchbook. Right as the dealers' room and art show were closing, the art show people hustled out a woman who had been just starting to bid on one of my pieces. Somehow one of them realized that I was the artist and brought her to me. I told her to come by our table the next day and I'd be willing to sell it to her.
After the dealers room closed, we called in Chinese food for supper. Because the hotel was charging for parking and the lot was quite small, we did not want to leave until the con was over, and there were no restaurants in walking distance except for the hotel's grossly overpriced one. It took a frustratingly long time arriving, and we weren't sure if there would be time to eat and still visit the hot tub before the art auction started at 8:30.
However we did make it to the hot tub, although we did note that the hot tub was somewhat cooler than on Friday night, and the water level was notably lower (on Friday it was up almost to the rim). At least it was still fairly hot, not the awful bathwater-temperature stuff like last year on Saturday.
The art auction was a little late starting, so I didn't miss anything even when I was running slightly behind. I didn't have any of my art on the auction, but it was interesting to see what else was selling.
After the auction we made the rounds of the parties. Several other conventions were having parties to publicize themselves, including the Toronto in 2003 WorldCon bid. General Technics had their suite open again, and a number of people were demonstrating various techno-goodies.
Sunday was time to pack up and head home. We had to rise extra early in order to get everything packed and out of our hotel room before the dealers' room opened. Business was still rather slow, although it picked up at the very last minute. The woman who wanted to buy the one piece of art did show up right about the time I got my stuff off the art show, and she bought the piece she'd wanted to bid on. I also had another person come by and buy my mirror ornamented with dragons as we were packing up, which spared me the problem of figuring out some way to get it back home without risking breaking the dragons.
Then we had the next fun challenge -- the singularly unpleasant discovery that it was absolutely pouring buckets outside right as it was time for us to carry everything outside and load up. Since it showed no sign of slacking off and we had a long drive ahead of us, we decided to go ahead and get started. We moved the van so it was as close to the loading dock as we could get it in spite of that awful flood control hump, then rigged a tarp over the back so that we'd have some modicum of shelter while we were actually putting boxes into the van. We used a second tarp to cover the books as we pulled them out there on the cart.
After running about three cartloads of books out in the pouring rain, it slacked off. However we were already drenched, so we just kept slogging stuff out there. By the time we carried the last few loads out, it had almost stopped entirely.
We made one last quick trip to the con suite to say our good-byes and get some last-minute munchies before it was time to make the long trip home.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.