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Chicago in 2000 Bid Party Manual
Ross Pavlac and I wrote this manual for the benefit of the Chicago in 2000 Worldcon bid, and it has since proved useful mutatis mutandis to other bidders. Not all of its precepts were followed rigorously by the Chicago bid, and some are either obsolete (e. g., the bheer recommendations, which antedate fandom's discovery of microbrews) or bid-specific (e. g., trading cards and door prize drawings). The text underwent numerous revisions between 1994 and 1996. The one presented here is Version 4.14, dated February 7, 1996.
 
Introduction
This manual is intended to assist Chicago in 2000 bid committee members who host bid parties at conventions. For those who do not have bidding experience, it will serve as a tutorial in how to bid, including pitfalls to avoid. For “old hands”, it provides a checklist to make sure nothing is overlooked.
Please note that, while there are no deep, dark secrets herein, we have no reason to educate rival bids in how to campaign effectively. Therefore, committee members should exercise caution in showing this manual to others.
Ross Pavlac wrote the initial draft of this manual. Tom Veal has edited it, with particular attention to making its advice specific to the Chicago in 2000 bid. We plan to revise and update the manual continuously to reflect the bid’s experience. All bid committee members are encouraged to suggest additions and corrections.
For our purposes, conventions come in three sizes:
Small: A typical local SF con of 400 to 750 fans.
Large: A regional con drawing 750 to 2,000 fans.
Mega: Larger conventions at which we expect well-attended parties. Windycon and the Worldcon are Mega conventions for us. Several others, such as Minicon and Westercon, will attain that status as voting draws nearer.
While most of this manual will treat all three alike, distinctions will be made in areas such as supply buys.
 
Prior to the Convention
Checklist
Appoint the Party Captain.
Determine which bidcomm members will be at the con.
Find out what local supporters are available.
Determine whose room will be used for the party (except at those Mega conventions where we can afford a separate party suite).
Prepare party signs.
Refresh and load the Party Pack.
Arrange for the Party Pack to get to the con.
Obtain a current printout of presupporters.
Obtain door prizes for the midnight drawing.
Assign responsibility for purchasing refreshments.
Obtain cashbox set-up funds ($50 - $100 in one and five dollar bills).
Get the party's supply of Frango mints from the bid chairman.
Notes
1.  Many conventions have a “party czar”. Check the con’s flyers or progress report for the identity of this individual. If there is none, the hotel liaison may fill the role.
Some conventions have a special area reserved for parties. In other cases, you want to try to talk to the hotel liaison to figure out a good location: close to the con suite, in the middle of a concentration of parties, or in a similar high traffic area.
Make room reservations as far in advance as possible. This is especially true in cases like Minicon, where the key party area is limited in terms of what it can support.
Some conventions have rules governing parties. Norwescon, for example, requires registration with con operations. Find out what the particular con's rules are and obey them.
2.  The Party Captain is the person who makes sure that everything gets done. This is not necessarily the most experienced person who will be at the con. In fact, this is an excellent job for someone who wants to develop organizational skills or show the rest of the bid committee that he can coordinate important tasks.
3.  A sample sign is attached to this manual. Signs should be photocopied onto bright paper. Make about 30 copies - more if the convention is extraordinarily spread out. When you get to the con, fill in the party room number with magic marker. Make the number large and easy to read.
4.  A list of items that should be in the Party Pack is on page 19. It is a good idea to check the pack at least a week before leaving for the con, so that there is time to remedy omissions.
5.  We should have at least six door prizes for the midnight drawing. Standard prizes are “Chicago in 2000” t-shirts, a small (1/3 lb.) box of Frango mints and the winner's choice of three “Chicago in 2000” trading cards. These should be supplemented by such items as books (preferably signed or written by a convention guest), artwork, videos of SF movies, computer programs, toy dinosaurs, etc. If the stock of prizes is insufficient, adding to it should be a high priority.
6.  Randy Kaempen is in charge of preparing the printout of presupporters. The Party Captain should alert him at least a week before the printout is needed.
 
Preparations for the Party
Checklist
Find out where the con suite is and whether there is an ideal location for the party room.
Check into the party room.
Contact the hotel liaison or party czar (if this hasn’t already been done) to find out if there is any special information that you need to know.
Locate the nearest large supermarket (and the nearest liquor store, if supermarkets in that area don’t sell beer).
Arrange for transportation to and from the supermarket.
Buy party supplies.
If there is a daily newsletter, tell it about the party.
Put up party signs.
Obtain extra towels from hotel housekeeping.
Figure out where you're going to get ice.
Find a pro or other celebrity for the midnight door prize drawing.
Notes
1.  Except at a few mega conventions, the party will have to be held in someone’s sleeping room. The Party Captain volunteers for this burden by default unless he can find someone else to assume it.
2.  Chicago in 2000 parties will normally be held on Saturday night. That is the best-attended night at almost all cons and allows maximum time for preparation. If, for some reason, a party must be held on Friday night, the Party Captain and his assistants should arrive at the con no later than Friday morning, preferably before 11:00 a.m.
3.  The positioning of the party room is critical. Do not just automatically accept whatever room the hotel gives you. Is the room unusually small for that particular hotel? Is it in a far corner of the hotel, in an annex, or otherwise difficult to get to? If there is any problem at all, go back to the front desk immediately and politely but firmly get the room moved. If the front desk person will not cooperate, ask (politely) to speak to the front desk manager. If the front desk manager will not cooperate, find the con's hotel liaison or party czar and see if he is willing to pull strings for you.
If the con suite is on a sleeping room floor, try to get a room on the same floor that is between the elevators and the con suite, i. e., where people will have to pass by you to get to the con suite.
It cannot be stressed enough that attendance at a party in the boondocks will suffer dramatically, no matter what the lure.
4.  Ask the party czar or hotel liaison if hotel has any weird rules or attitudes concerning noise, sign posting, damage to carpets, corkage and the like. Corkage is, of course, particularly important. Find out how to get in touch with the concomm during the party if problems arise.
5.  On the day before the party, find out where you can buy party supplies and arrange for transportation. The most economical source is a warehouse club. Next best is a large supermarket. Don't buy from neighborhood grocery stores or small markets!
6.  Supply purchases should be completed by 5:00 p.m. of the day of the party: the earlier, the better. See the Party Supply Checklist for what to buy. At least two, and no more than four, people should go on the supply run.
7.  Bring food and drink into the hotel as inconspicuously as possible. If the con has a formal corkage waiver from the hotel, there is no reason not to have a bellman take the supplies to the party room on a luggage cart, but don't forget to tip generously (minimum of $5.00, $10.00 for large conventions), and don’t display alcoholic beverages openly. If there is no corkage waiver, it is best to use a side entrance and a fan crew.
8.  There is an art to putting up party signs.
Do not put them up until the day of the party - if they go up in advance, people will get confused (even if your sign states the date) and will come a day early.
It is imperative that you start putting up signs as early in the day as possible. Start no later than noon. The later in the day you start, the more that other bid parties will have struck first and taken all the best locations.
The best candidate locations are those where signs from the previous night’s parties exist. Feel free to tear these down and replace them with ours. It is, however, Bad Form to tear down or move signs for other parties for that night (which is why you need to get there early).
Signs should be placed at roughly eye level or slightly above for best effect. Always use masking tape to affix, not scotch tape, tacks, etc. Do not put signs on hotel surfaces that have flocked wallpaper, or where there is any chance that sign removal will cause damage. Place the tape on the back of the sign, one piece in each corner. It takes longer to do it that way but looks much more attractive.
Good places for signs:
a.  On the con’s party board.
b.  In the con suite.
c.  In the dealers’ room. (Ask friendly dealers to post them at their tables.)
d.  Near the entrances and exits of the dealers' room, art show and principal meeting room area.
e.  At every elevator bank, preferably just above the buttons.
f.   In every elevator (if the hotel permits - most don’t).
g.  In the sleeping floor hallways opposite the elevator.
h.  Just before the entrances to escalators.
i.   At every point between the elevator and the party where people will have to turn a corner. Arrows should be drawn on these to indicate the direction.
j.   In stairwells, particularly if the con has elevator problems (as most do).
About 20 signs for be adequate for most hotels. After the initial posting, keep about half a dozen in reserve. At about 6:00 p.m., someone should check the signs and replace any that have disappeared.
9.  Check how many large towels you have. You will need at least six or eight for icing the bathtub, keeping the bar area dry, wiping up spills and other chores. If you have fewer, ask the nearest housekeeper for more. She will usually furnish them, no questions asked. If she won’t, call hotel housekeeping with your request.
10.  Ice can be one of the biggest problems.
Unless the con is small, you cannot depend on the hotel ice machines to provide a sufficient amount to fill the tub. Once you get past mid-afternoon, the ice machines will mostly be empty.
If you do get loose ice from machines, the best way to do this in bulk is to put a garbage bag in a cardboard box and fill it.
The easiest course of action is to buy the ice as part of the supply run. If obtained after noon on the day of the party, ice will last through the party. A bathtub needs about 50 pounds of ice and coolers about ten pounds each.
The hotel will sometimes allow fans to use its Mother Lode ice machine for free, and a few conventions furnish ice free or inexpensively. Check with the party czar or hotel liaison.
Don't order ice from room service - it’s too expensive - and dont make unauthorized raids on the Mother Lode. Some fans enjoy raiding, but being caught causes problems that a bid party cannot tolerate.
11.  During the course of preparation, find out who on the bid committee (or among our other supporters) is available to help before or during the party. If a person is not needed until the party starts, ask him to show up half an hour before opening.
 
Party Setup
Checklist
Determine staff; who is available, who does what.
Set air conditioning to full max Arctic! NOW!
Determine room layout.
Ice the tub.
Decorate the walls.
Unplug the TV set; cover it with a towels or a bed sheet, and put something on top of it.
If the lighting is inadequate (it usually is), substitute brighter bulbs for the hotel’s.
Lay out refreshments.
If there is any damage to the room or carpet, report it to the hotel before the party starts.
It's Showtime, folks!
Notes
1.  Setting up a party takes at least two hours. Leave adequate time in your schedule.
2.  Except at very small, informal parties. we will serve drinks from a bar. This requires two or three coolers. If coolers haven’t come with the Party Pack, buy cheap, disposable styrofoam containers during the supply run.
3.  Icing the bathtub (based on the Dalroy Ward Method)
The goal here is to protect the tub from damage, get the stuff cold. and provide easy access.
a.  Start the icing process at least two hours before the party’s scheduled opening.
b.  Line the bottom of the tub with towels (two will be sufficient) in order to reduce the risk of scratching the porcelain. Do NOT block the drain!
c.  Cover the bottom of the tub with a thin layer of ice.
d.  Place soft drinks and beer in the tub, keeping each type of beverage together. At big parties, everything may not fit. In that case, put in fresh bottles or cans throughout the evening as space becomes available.
e.  Add ice to the tub until all of the beverages are covered (requires 40 to 50 pounds of ice).
f.  Cover the ice with towels. Place food that should be kept cool but not frigid (cheese and fruit) on top of the towels.
4.  Just before the party opens, move some of the iced beverages to coolers near the bar.
5.  Specific staff roles:
Greeter: This person stands at the door and greets people as they enter. Ideally, make eye contact with everyone coming in and say “Welcome to Chicago!” or similar.
After greeting the person coming in, offer a sticker. Do NOT try to force a sticker on someone. People have two minds about stickers: Some insist on putting it on themselves, others prefer to have it placed by the greeter -- try to figure out what the person's preference is.
If personnel are available, there should be two greeters at Mega parties.
This is a good role for kids, so long as someone keeps an eye on the little darlings.
Pitchman: This person sits behind a table that has floor plans and bidding information on it, and is there to answer detailed questions about the committee and facilities. In addition to having floor plans, the pitchman should have a notebook and pen to take down specific questions or observations.
Except at very large parties with plentiful staff, this position is normally combined with cashier.
Cashier: Person to take presupporting funds, sell t-shirts and issue trading cards.
The most important qualification for this position is the ability to P-R-I-N-T C-L-E-A-R-L-Y. Fans with illegible handwriting should not be allowed anywhere near the receipt book.
Bartender: At Mega and, if possible, at Large conventions, there should be two bartenders during peak party hours (c. 9:00 p.m. - c. 1:00 a.m.)
Hosts: Refresh and straighten the snacks and flyers. Pick up garbage. Guard against pilfering from the bathroom. Mingle and be pleasant.
It will rarely be possible to assign only one role to each staffer. In the worst case, where only two people are available, one should act as cashier and pitchman, and the other should bustle about handling everything else.
6.  Room layout
You will need the following areas in the room:
a.  Area for munchies - spread these around.
b.  Area for flyers and propaganda -- NOT to be near munchies!
c.  Area for pitchman.
d.  Area for cashier. Post a price list (sample attached to this manual) prominently in a location near the cashier.
e.  Area for bar.
f.  Area for door prize drawing “hat” and display of prizes.
7.  Wall decorations
a.  Decorations are essential to a bid party. Our purpose is not simply to entertain and feed convention attendees but to call their attention to the Chicago in 2000 bid.
b.  Use only masking tape to affix decorations to walls.
c.  Posters often fit nicely over the hotel’s generic art work.
d.  The first thing that someone sees upon looking into the room should be the most impressive sign or poster that we have there.
e.  Rolled-up posters should be unrolled and gently flattened several hours before the party. Don’t counter-roll or crease them!
8.  Turn the air conditioning on well before the party, and get the room as cold as possible. If the weather outside is cold, open a window to help cool the room down until people start to complain. Once you get a bunch of people in the room, it will heat up faster than you want.
9.  Unplugging the TV set and covering it are imperative! The purpose of a bid party is to have people conversing and interacting. Experience at many parties has proven conclusively that when a TV is on, people will poke their head in the room and if they are not interested in what is on TV, they will go on to another party, even if there are conversations going on in the room! TV sets are conversation killers.
10.  We are not interested in creating a dim, romantic atmosphere. Hotels generally provide few lamps and furnish them with faint, energy-saving bulbs. We cannot do much about the number of lamps (not an item easily transported in the Party Pack), but we can substitute 100 watt bulbs for the hotel standard.
11.  Don’t try to put all of the refreshments out at once. Set out a good variety, then replenish during the party as needed. This rule applies especially to Frango mints, which should be set out one box at a time.
12.  Post a sign on the bathroom store, stating that it is off-limits to all except Chicago in 2000 staff. A suitable sign is attached to this manual.
13.  Post a “no smoking” sign. Barring smoking makes it easier to keep the room clean.
14.  Some hotels are extremely paranoid about room damage. In particular, if the hotel has talked to hotels that hosted SF conventions and gotten damage reports, they will freak at the slightest problem.
In particular, they are worried about carpet damage from stains. This can easily be done if messy foods are being served (e. g., chili), punch is being served, etc. If items being served can be vacuumed up, the problem/worry is not as severe.
Even in a normal situation, if the carpet is stained more than can easily be gotten out, there is a very good chance that the hotel will charge you.
If there is a chance that the carpet can get stained, you should purchase some thick plastic sheeting, i. e., a stiffness greater than garbage bags, such that a woman’s shoe heel will not easily penetrate it. Lay the sheeting down in the area where staining is likely to occur.
Likewise, if there is already damage to the room or carpet done by previous guests, get a written acknowledgement from the hotel staff that the damage was the fault of previous guests.
15.  If the Party Captain plans to serve popcorn or coffee, one or more staffers must be dedicated to their preparation. These jobs cannot be handled ad hoc by “whoever is available”.
 
Briefing for Party Staff
Checklist
Get cleaned up.
Wear your “Chicago in 2000” t-shirt or some other Chicago shirt.
Wear your bid committee badge!
Display a “Chicago in 2000” sticker on your convention badge.
Familiarize yourself with salient facts about the bid.
Notes
1.  Take a few minutes before the party begins to relax, clean up and otherwise prepare to be at your most hospitable and charming.
2.  Do not force conversation about the bid on people, but at the same time be alert for people with questions. When conversing about the bid, be sure to cover the three key elements -- the city, the facilities, and the committee.
3.  If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t guess. Refer the inquirer to the pitchman. If the question seems truly important or puzzling, hunt up the bid chairman or get the questioner’s name and address.
4.  Do not say disparaging things about opposing bids. State what we have in a positive manner, and suggest asking the opposition the same questions.
5.  Try not to say disparaging things about any Worldcon bid for any year during the party. It is all too easy for your own personal opinion to be interpreted as the official position of our group re another bid for a different year. If you must say something disparaging during a specific conversation, stress that the opinion is your own and that Chicago in 2000 takes no positions on bids for any other years.
6.  Do not argue with supporters of other bids. Someone who comes to a bid party and begins arguing on behalf of the opposition isn’t going to be won over by anything that you say. Listen politely, while trying to steer the conversation to a different topic.
7.  Outline of basic sales pitch (feel free to do variations):
a.  Ask the person if he has any questions about the bid. If he says no, don’t press it. Most attendees aren’t really interested in long bid-related conversations.
b.  Verify that the person is familiar with Worldcons and bidding. If he isn’t, explain how Worldcons are selected and how bidding is done.
c.  Ask the person what criteria would cause him to favor one bid over another.
Most replies will relate to city, facilities, or committee. If a completely different reason is given, make a mental note of it and tell the pitchman later so that this question can be documented and a response prepared for when it gets asked the next time. Then answer the question if you can. If you can’t, refer the person to the pitchman.
d.  In the course of the discussion, stress that the criteria used by most voters center around the city, the facility, and the committee. As opportunity permits, try to make the following points:
CITY Stress the variety of tourist attractions and restaurants in Chicago. particularly in the downtown area. Talk about museums, shopping, relative safety of downtown area.
FACILITY Stress that the Hyatt Regency Chicago hosted the Worldcon in 1982 and 1991. Many Hyatt staff from 1991 are still around, and some from 1982.
The Hyatt is one of the largest hotels to ever host a Worldcon, with 2,019 sleeping rooms and 210,000 square feet of function space. Because of this, most of the fans and most of the activities will be able to be within the same building. Hotels within a block or two provide even more sleeping rooms and facilities.
BIDCOMM Stress that the committee contains people from all of the Chicago and Milwaukee area conventions, as well as experienced Worldcon runners from across the country. We thus have a mix of experience to prevent classic mistakes from happening, but at the same time have a lot of new blood to provide fresh ideas.
e.  Explain what presupporting is all about and invite the person to presupport.
f.  As you converse, find out what the person does and does not like in a convention. If we accumulate enough of these likes/dislikes, we can put together bid materials that address them.
8.  Some information that may be helpful in answering questions:
a. Chicago in 2000 will participate in the Worldcon funds pass-along (that is, the convention will donate at least 50 percent of its surplus, after customary program participant and staff reimbursements, to the next three Worldcons).
b.  Bid committee members will receive reimbursement of their dues (not any other expenses) if funds are available after all expenses, including pass-along funds, have been paid.
c.  If at all possible, we will devise a route from the dealers’ room to the art show that does not necessitate circumambulating the entire hotel.
d.  The Chicago in 2000 bid committee is an independent, ad hoc organization. It is not a project of ISFiC, Windycon or any other outside group.
e.  Positions at the convention have not been assigned and won’t be for a long time.
 
Running the Party
Checklist
Open it!
Card anyone who even vaguely looks underage.
Keep refreshments refreshed.
Pick up garbage.
Hold the door prize drawing at midnight.
Stay open until 3:00 a.m., later if there is still activity and the staff can tolerate it.
Notes
l.  Nine o’clock is the recommended start time. It gives us a jump on the majority of parties, which tend to open at ten. Don’t open more than a few minutes late, even if setup is still going on. Opening early is fine.
2.  Keep the door to the party open and inviting. If a real doorstop is not available, a washcloth can be used to wedge the door open.
3.  Rotate jobs every hour or so. If extra staff is available, give staffers breaks from work.
4.  Respond to noise complaints from con rovers, hotel personnel or other guests by asking everyone to keep the noise level down. A cooperative attitude on the part of the party staff is a good placebo, even though there’s no such thing as a quiet large party.
5.  Should an incident occur in which the carpet is stained, call hotel housekeeping immediately! Stains are harder to get out the longer they sit, and prompt action by the party staff can avoid charges.
While waiting for the maids to arrive to clean the stain, try wetting towels with cold water and blotting the area with the stain. Do not rub; BLOT!
6.  Do not risk serving alcohol to minors. Ask for identification if someone looks too young, but don’t imitate some cons’ officious practice of carding graybeards.
7.  The party hosts should check continuously to ensure that refreshments are replenished and garbage picked up. In case the hosts aren’t up to their job, all other party staff should make a point of surveying the condition of the room occasionally.
8.  Throughout the party, watch for falling decorations and retape them promptly.
9.  Do not under any circumstances leave the room unoccupied when water is running into a sink or bathtub, no matter how clear the drain is or how easily the water is draining. Trust Us On This.
10.  At ten minutes before midnight, someone with a stentorian voice should announce that the door prize drawing will be held in ten minutes and that this is the last chance for presupporters to put their names into the hat.
11.  At a minute to midnight, make a last call for entries. At precisely midnight, the person in charge of the door prize drawing should obtain silence and introduce the celebrity drawer with brief, flattering remarks.
12.  Rules for the drawing are attached to this manual. A copy should be posted near the “hat”.
13.  If Kansas City is throwing a party at the same convention, one or more staffers should visit it now and then and report their impressions.
14.  Bid parties that close early (i. e., while partygoers are still wandering the halls) get no respect. Remain open until at least 3:00 a.m., unless it is clear that the con is dead for the night. It is all right to close at any time after that, but try to avoid hustling people out of the room. When in doubt, whoever is sleeping in the room has the final word on closing time.
 
The Aftermath
Checklist
Bag the garbage.
Balance the cash box.
Leave a tip for the maid.
Dispose of leftover supplies.
Repack the Party Pack.
Turn over money and receipts to the proper persons.
Prepare report on supplies consumed, presupports received, t-shirts sold, interesting or disturbing incidents, etc.
Notes
1.  Garbage bags should be filled throughout the evening and hidden away in the bathroom. Make a final sweep of the room to clean up anything that can’t be left out overnight, and tie all bags closed.
2.  If someone is sleeping in the room, put a sign on the door that says, “CLOSED -- SEE YOU AT THE NEXT CON” to discourage people from knocking.
3.  Leave a sign in the open that says “Tip for Maid” with a tip, $5 for a small con, $10-$20 for larger cons. The proper size of the tip depends on whether extensive cleaning or vacuuming will be necessary.
4.  Perishable food and nontransportable soft drinks should be given to the con suite. Once in a while, they can be sold to another party. Any supplies that can be salvaged for a later convention should be brought back to Chicago.
5.  Be careful when taking down wall decorations. They need to be re-used! This is especially true of travel posters of Chicago, which cost money to replace!
6.  It is best to balance the cash box immediately after the party. If everyone is too exhausted to do that, the task should be performed as soon as possible before leaving the con. If no one else volunteers, the Party Captain is responsible for this job.
7.  Checks and cash should be given to Dina Krause or Gretchen Van Dorn-Roper for deposit into our bank account. The receipt book should be given to Randy Kaempen so that he can update the membership list.
8.  The Party Captain or his designee should prepare a post-party report, which should be submitted to the bid chairman within two weeks after the party. Party reports will appear, suitably edited, in the bid committee APA. The report should cover the points listed below and any others that strike the rapporteur as worthy of attention:
Announced time and location of the party; when it actually opened and when it closed
Persons (bidcomm members and others) who assisted with setting up and running the party
Description of room layout, particularly any unusual features
Number of presupports sold; number of t-shirts sold (preferably broken down by size and color); total amount of money taken in
Inventory of refreshments consumed
Name of celebrity door prize drawer; list of prizes available and prizes selected by winners
Any unusual, astonishing or enlightening incidents; interesting questions asked by guests; strong expressions of opinion for or against the bid; pertinent news about voters’ attitudes; scurrilous rumors
Any points concerning rooms, hotel policies, concomm policies, etc. that need to be kept in mind for next year’s party at this convention
Activity at the con by the Kansas City bid
 
Party Pack Inventory
IMPORTANT: It is critical that the pack be inventoried and replenished before each con!
Chicago in 2000 Bid Party Manual
Cash box
Receipt books (2 minimum)
Bid stickers (2 rolls minimum)
“Chicago in 2000” buttons
Trading cards (current and prior)
Trading card album pages
Trading card info sheets
Current bid flyer
Party signs
Other signs (“No smoking”, “Keep out of bathroom”, door prize drawing rules, price list)
Receptacle (“hat”) for door prize entries
Pad of small paper slips for door prize entries
Large black magic marker
100 watt light bulbs (package of 4)
Ball point pens (6 minimum)
Scissors
Masking tape (2 rolls minimum)
Doorstop
Serving trays
Church key (preferably two)
Kitchen knife
Chicago tourist brochures
Hyatt brochures
Hyatt floor plans (2 sets minimum)
Fairmont and Swissôtel flyers
Computer printout of presupporters
Other supplies (not necessarily carried in the Party Pack):
Door prizes
Coolers
T-shirts for sale
Popcorn machine
Coffee maker(s), with coffee, sugar, saccharine and creamer
City of Chicago posters and other wall decorations
Cash setup
 
Party Supply Checklist
Most bid parties overbuy. Fans eat and drink less at parties than many of us realize. The below table shows recommended purchases for parties of various sizes. It is based on actual consumption at the first few Chicago in 2000 parties and will be refined as we collect further data. Note that almost all of our parties during the first year of bidding can be classified as “large”. Only Windycon and the Worldcon reach the “mega” level. In the second and third years, there will be more “small” parties and perhaps more “megas”.
Item
Small
Large
Mega
Notes
Beer (12 oz. bottles or cans)
18
30
42
Quality brands only: no light beer
Bacardi Breezers (bottles)
4
8
12
Wine coolers can be substituted
Coke Classic (2-liter)
1
2
2
No substitutions! (See note.)
Diet Coke (2-liter)
1
2
3
Diet Pepsi can he substituted
Caffeine-Free Diet Coke (2-liter)
0
1
1
Or Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi
7-Up or Sprite (2-liter)
1
1
1
Diet 7-Up or Sprite (2-liter)
0
0
1
Dr. Pepper (2-liter)
1
1
2
Or root beer or ginger ale
Apple juice (quarts)
1
2
2
Cookies (12-count packages)
5
10
20
Pepperidge Farm or Salerno only
Red grapes (lbs)
2
3
4
Seedless only
White grapes (Ibs)
1
2
3
Strawberries (lbs)
1
2
3
Seasonal
Cheese (Ibs)
1
2
2
Cheddar or a close relative
Triscuits (boxes)
1
1
2
Or other snack crackers
Candy (lbs)
1
2
3
M&M’s, Kisses, Skittles. etc.
Plastic cups (9 oz.)
50
100
200
NOT paper cups!
Styrofoam cups (7 oz.)
40
75
100
Only if coffee is served
If coffee is to be served, the party will need filters, sugar and nutrasweet packets, creamer packets and stirring sticks. Popcorn requires oil, salt, popcorn butter and small bags for serving.
Notes
1.  Don’t bother with potato chips, cheese balls and similar junk food. People who really yearn for that can find it in the con suite or at other parties.
2.  Do not buy mystery brands of beer. Get Heineken, Michelob, Miller Genuine Draft or a strong regional brand. Coors and Budweiser do not move well, despite their mundane sales figures. Schlitz, Old Milwaukee and their ilk don’t move at all.
3.  Light beer has moved very slowly at our parties. If the Party Captain wants to buy some, a six-pack should be adequate for a party of any size.
4.  Bacardi Breezers have been very popular. They come in several flavors, of which “berry” has drawn the best response.
5.  At parties in the Northeast and in Oregon, Pepsi can be substituted for a portion of the Coke Classic.
6.  With soft drinks, as with beer: brand names only! “If an angel come from heaven/ Brings you other things to drink,/ Thank him for his kind attention;/ Go and pour them down the sink.”
7.  The bid chairman will supply Frango mints. The Party Captain is responsible for seeing that he remembers to do so.
8.  The most economical sources of cookies are the Pepperidge Farm and Salerno thrift stores in the Chicago suburbs. Bear in mind, though, that these products are relatively fragile and probably won’t survive intact if packed in checked luggage on an airplane.
9.  Avoid cheeses with strong character (gouda, edom, even swiss). Plain cheddar and its siblings are the most universally acceptable. Cheese should be sliced into cracker-sized pieces. As an alternative to buying slabs, consider getting small roundels and cutting them into quarters.
10.  Fresh strawberries are very popular, but get them only if someone on the staff is a good judge of their quality and is willing to wash and clean them.
11.  Red grapes are somewhat more popular than white, but both go over well. Be sure to wash grapes thoroughly before setting them out.
 
APPENDIX: SAMPLE SIGNS
Chicago in 2000 Party Sign
Chicago in 2000 Door Prize List
Chicago in 2000 Door Prize Rules
Chicago in 2000 Price List
Chicago in 2000 Trading Card Rules

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