CONvergence is a convention for fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy in all media, and is held at the Double Tree Bloomington Hotel in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota on the first full weekend of July each year. CONvergence Events, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Can I register online?
Sure! We’ve made an agreement with www.convention-reg.com to handle online registrations. Have your Credit Card ready, and they’ll take care of all your needs! If you don’t want to do that, you can print out a form and mail it in with a check too.
How many people attend CONvergence?
In 2009, 3,996 people registered to attend convergence, with 3,894 people actually in attendance. Our attendance has continued to grow each year since the convention started in 1999, when we had exactly 1,500 registrations.
Why are you organized as a non-profit?
We chose to organize ourselves as a non-profit for several reasons:
The first, and most important, is that we are tax-exempt. This allows us to purchase goods at a lower rate and it makes our lives easier every April 15th.
Second, we can accept tax-deductible contributions. This is really an offshoot of the tax-exempt status. Corporations are far more likely to make a donation to us when they know they can write off that expense. The same is true of individuals. This allows us avenues of fund-raising that would otherwise be unavailable to us. The more funds we can raise outside of simple membership fees, the better convention we can provide.
Third, we can apply for grants and receive other benefits only available to non-profit organizations. This is a zero investment opportunity for us and, again, it allows us to put on a better con.
Finally, our non-profit status makes it easier for us to get clearances from copyright-holders to feature their films and music at our convention.
We need to point out that non-profit does not mean that an organization cannot make money. We can make bundles of money. The issue is how that money is spent. Basically, the members of the board cannot profit from the operation of the organization. All income must be used to fund charitable activities or to run the organization.
So is CONvergence still a non-profit even without GPS?
Yes. CONvergence is now the premier event of Convergence Events, Inc., a non-profit, volunteer-run organization dedicated to creating exciting events that connect, enrich and expand our diverse community, and to inspiring each other through creativity, learning, and service. We hope to be announcing new events regularly.
What qualities make CONvergence unique?
CONvergence attempts to draw together all the various mediums and aspects of the science fiction & fantasy genres as equals. Many conventions choose one aspect as a primary focus (literature, comics, movies, etc.). By covering this broad spectrum, we hope to show what brings all of us together as fans of the media.
Most fans are not a fan of Science Fiction in only one medium or narrow sub-genre. Our intention with CONvergence is to offer a large smorgasboard of entertainment and programming that we think would appeal to fans of SF and Fantasy. We do not expect that every event featured at CONvergence would appeal to every attendee, but we hope that plenty of fun can be found by anyone.
Towards this end, we not only invite guests of honor who are creatively involved in a variety of media, we organize our programming into different tracks reflected the different media, allowing attending fans to more easily find panels relating to their favorite, books, movies, television shows, comics, and games.
One of the best reasons for making the Double Tree Bloomington South our permanent home are the two floors of Cabana Rooms that surround the poolside area and open onto balconies and hallways surrounding poolside. These cabanas are filled with room parties run by individuals and fan groups. These parties all have individual themes, but the layout of the cabanas allows the energy from those parties to intermingle, creating a unique and exciting party space that is the heart of the convention on Friday and Saturday nights.
Many of the staples of an SF con are done a little differently at CONvergence. Most cons have a movie room, but Cinema Rex is special. A floor to ceiling screen, 5.1 surround sound, comfy chairs and couches, free soda, popcorn, cookies and other snacks. CONvergence takes the standard Anime room and transforms it into Theater Nippon, which is open 24 hours during the convention weekend and serves snacks including pokey and other Japanese goodies. And you’ve never seen anything at a convention quite like Connie’s Space Lounge…
Finally, what makes us unique is you. Every convention gets its own unique character as a result of it’s attendees. We hope you come to our convention and help us make it yours.
Why do you capitalize the CON in CONvergence?
Well, it turns out there is a sizeable Goth convention (Convergence) with the name Convergence and we wanted to differentiate ourselves from them. It’s also to distinguish the name of our convention from the plain old word “convergence” when used in a sentence. And we all think it looks kind of cool. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from trying to spell it differently. “ConVergence” seems to be the most common variant. But “CONvergence” is the official and correct version. Really.
Your weekend is bad for me. Do you have any plans to change your con’s weekend in the future?
No. CONvergence will always fall on the first full weekend in July. We know that this causes a conflict for some who would like to make other plans for July 4 in years when these dates coincide, but there is no weekend on the calendar that wouldn’t pose a conflict for some subsection of our attendees. Our weekend was chosen considering a number of factors including:
- 1) Making sure that we were not in direct competition with any other local convention.
- 2) We also wanted to choose a holiday weekend when many people get a day off.
- 3) Finding a weekend that is a good fit for our hotel, the Double Tree Hotel South.
Overall, the first full weekend in July is simply the best choice for CONvergence.
Will your convention be serving alcohol?
There is plenty of opportunity to drink at CONvergence, in fact MANY of the room parties at CONvergence serve alcohol (to those displaying ID to show that they are 21 or over), but the convention itself does not serve alcohol in ConSuite or any other location. We have two reasons for this:
- First – Expense. The cost of the liquor is not so much the issue as insurance and corkage fees. We simply would like to be able to spend that money on other things.
- Second – Liability. By not serving alcohol, the con is not liable for any liquor-related incidents. Room parties will be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages at their own discretion. They will be expected to follow all laws regarding under-age drinking. They will also be expected to stop serving those who have “had too much”.
- This is the same policy that has been in use since CONvergence began in 1999, and it has worked very well. There is never a shortage of free alcohol for those who want it, but it makes things much easier for the convention. It has the added benefit of combating overcrowding around our ConSuite area.
Do you have supporting memberships?
Does CONvergence offer Day Passes?
No, CONvergence does not have any plans to create a day pass program. It has to do with our philosophy of keeping the convention as a larger whole.
As a nonprofit, CONvergence’s mission and our many commitments to our charity partners in the community demand we remain solvent. Day passes would not just impact the CONvergence philosophy but those other organizations to whom we commit funding.
It is not our intention to sell off the convention piecemeal. It’s a package deal. We would much rather have our membership pre-register, and be a part of the whole convention. For those concerned about the at-the-door rates for the convention, we suggest that you pre-register to lock in a lower rate. CONvergence memberships ARE transferable, so you do have options if you find you are unable to attend.
Can we put up signs at the hotel, like they do at some other conventions?
Of course you can. There is abundant wall space throughout the hotel where flyers can be placed, using BLUE MASKING TAPE ONLY. The rules about where one can put up flyers are driven by the hotel, and are sometimes tweaked from year to year. If you have any questions about where it is and isn’t OK to place your flyers, please stop in to the Operations Bridge and ask.
Why doesn’t the CONvergence website have a community forum or message board?
We believe that such a forum could be confusing for the casual user on what is “official” policy or news. Instead, there are several online communities dedicated to CONvergence (and other fan groups and events) through all of the popular social networking sites. Official communication is restricted to meetings, our website and paper or electronic mailings.
How do I check that I am registered?
If you register early in the convention year, then your Progress Reports and other mailings will have a ® symbol next to your name. Shortly before the convention, we send out postcards to all those who are registered. And finally, you can always contact Registration and ask (politely).
How do I get on a panel?
Contact the programming department. Keep in mind that due to the publication and other deadlines, you want to get any programming ideas and requests for participation during the winter and spring before the convention. The programming schedule is generally locked down May 1st, and the earlier you get information to Programming, the better.
I have a great idea for a programming panel – what do I do?
Come to the Programming Brainstorming Meeting (typically early November at the Double Tree Bloomington Hotel). Contact Programming. Remember: If you have a great idea, it is more likely to happen if you are willing to do it yourself!
Sitting a panel looks like so much fun! How do I get on a panel?
Bring your own (come to the Programming Brainstorming Meeting in November) or contact us. Or, once the proposed panels list has been posted online – sign up!
How do I enter the Masquerade?
Quick answer: Come to the convention ready to compete, and fill out an entrant form on the first day. You’ll be walked through the other parts of the process (tech rehearsals and the actual performance) while you fill out and turn in your form.
What is Consuite?
Consuite is our 24-hour hospitality suite and social club. For our registered members, we offer many types of soda, chips, candy, fruits, vegetables, and other snacks. Every once in a while, we offer “WOW” foods in limited quantities (like pizza or Chinese). We also offer some other “real” food, such as a PB&J Bar and various soups and rice with toppings. Along with this food, we offer plenty of social space with many chairs for you to relax, snack, and meet your fellow convention attendees!
PLEASE REMEMBER: It is not Consuite’s role or responsibility to provide for all your food needs for the whole convention.
What is the Bridge?
“The Bridge” is the headquarters for our Operations Team and the communication hub for the whole convention. It acts as a Help Desk and a Dispatcher, making sure that any problems remain small problems that are dealt with quickly and with good humor.
What are these “Parties” you speak of?
Our poolside cabana rooms are given over (almost exclusively) to various groups and individuals who host a party for our attendees. These parties are themed, often highly-decorated, with events and activities, food and beverages, and warm and welcoming people. Our room parties make the night-time hours some of the most exciting and celebratory hours of the convention weekend! If the door is open, feel free to walk right in and say hello!
What is the “concom”?
The concom is short for “convention committee.” The convention committee are the people who run each of the various departments and events of the convention. As of right now, there are over 30 different departments for the convention. If you would like to become involved in the running of the convention, simply contact us and let us know!
How can I get on the concom?
Contact us and let us know you are interested and we’ll get things started. Periodically, we make an announcement of a Recruitment Meeting, so read your announcement email for details. It helps if you have an idea of what you’d like to do and how involved you’d like to be!
Why don’t you have a curfew?
Attending CONvergence does not relieve you of your responsibility to parent your child. As such, we cannot judge at what point your offspring should be in bed, or what activities are inappropriate for your child to view or participate in. If you bring your child to the convention, be aware that the space is crowded, that many are wearing costumes that may have pointy bits, and that the later the hour gets, the more alcohol has been flowing. Any child found unattended at the convention will be brought to the Bridge and the parent contacted. If the parent cannot be found or contacted, Child Services will be called.
Why do you badge?
Each registration pays for all the events, Guests, food, movies, etc. that we all enjoy. Since we have all chipped in to help pay for this party, we want to keep party crashers out – they haven’t paid their fair share and why should you help feed and entertain them? Additionally, the majority of the behavior problems at the convention come from non-registered crashers. So – they haven’t paid, they’re mooching off of you, and they are causing the most problems. We think it’s worth it to try to dissuade them from attending.
Where does all the money go?
ONvergence promotes education, literacy, and community service Each year in our post mortem report, CONvergence gives budget information detailing how much money was raised and how it was spent. A majority of the money raised from registrations goes to running the convention. But a hefty sum – $25,000 in each of the last two years – goes to GPS.
Does anyone get paid?
We pay bands to perform at the convention. Some technical people are paid because we need their expertise and can’t find an appropriate volunteer. We have an accountant and a lawyer. Other than that, everyone who works on the convention is a volunteer. Impressive, huh?
I can’t afford to attend this year. Can I just copy my friend’s badge at Kinko’s?
No, that’s called “forging” and is unacceptable behavior.
If you are caught with a forged badge, you will be required to pay the at-the-door price for membership or else face talking to the police. Having paid for an at-the-door registration, you will then be asked to leave the premises and will be banned from all future conventions. If you wish to petition the Board of Directors for readmittance, you may do so, but not until the next convention.
If it seems unfair that we make you pay only to then kick you out, consider that we are making you pay for whatever resources you have already used, as well as the inconvenience of dealing with an unpleasant situation.
Also, you should know that any forged badge that is clearly a copy of a valid badge will also result in the same punishment for the person whose badge was copied. In other words, if you copy your badge for a friend, you get in just as much trouble as they do.
Why don’t you offer Childcare?
We don’t offer childcare for two reasons: liability and cost.
The convention cannot afford to assume the enormous liability of trying to care for children or for the cost of hiring professionals with their own liability coverage.
Why not allow space for us to do it?
Quick answer: Liability again.
Longer answer: If parents want to get together and share the cost and responsibility of arranging their own childcare, we think that’s great. Any involvement on the convention’s part, however, brings in the question of liability again. Additionally, we are short enough on space for current convention events as it is. So if you want to find some other parents at the convention and work something out for this year or for the future, go for it!
How do I get a hotel room?
Process Change – The room and cabana request process goes paperless!
A big change to note at this year’s convention is that there will be no room request forms available. The Hotel team has decided to come out of the dark ages and join the electronic world by trying a paperless system. Changes are being made to the site where registrations are purchased to enhance the functionality of the room request option. Soon you will be able t request a room solely through that site, and to know absolutely when your request was forwarded to the Hotel team. This will give us better ideas on when types of rooms fill (rooms for two beds, for example) and to know better when the hotel fills. Our anticipated “go-live” is October 1, 2009. We will update through the CONvergence website as more information becomes available.
There have been several inquiries about the Parties process.
T he room rates for the Double Tree are $101 / night plus tax for all rooms except cabanas (exclusively for room parties). Cabana rates are $127.00 \ night; $150 bed removal charge.
The room rates for the Sofitel are:
2-bed rooms = $109.00 \ night plus tax
1 king bed – $101.00 \ night plus tax
1 king bed with roll-away = $109.00 \ night plus tax
As always, please send any questions to the hotel department.
Why shouldn’t I contact the hotel directly?
The Double Tree expects our Hotel Department to handle room requests, and as such, they do not train their staff to handle the special requirements of our attendees – and more importantly, there is no guarantee that you would be given the convention hotel room rate. By having our convention staff handle requests, we can accommodate groups of people wanting rooms near each other (yes, you can ask for that), we can help those planning room parties to be in a good location, and we can better plan for the needs of our Guests of Honor.
How do I check that I’ve got a hotel room?
First, give us some time to process your request! If you mailed it a week ago, that’s a little soon to be panicking. Once it has been processed, you will be sent an email. If it has been a while and you haven’t received a confirmation email, then contact us and ask (politely).
How do I sign up to host a room party?
Your hotel room request form also doubles as a party room request form! If you plan on having a separate sleeping room, you probably want to fill out two separate forms. Contact us at the Hotel Department to receive the the additional forms.
Why don’t you have different kinds of soda? (I like Coke and you only have Pepsi products!)
We are looking at all options this year with the hopes of doing the best for our overlord, Connie MkII.
I’m only coming for the first two days, can I give my badge to a friend for the rest of the weekend?
No, you may not. So-called “badge sharing” is actually fraud. Leaving aside all other arguments (and they are numerous), each badge is a unique identifier for that person. If (heavens forbid) something bad were to happen and render you incapable of communicating, the badge is our first step in identifying you and getting you the help you need. If you are wearing someone else’s badge, you put yourself and the convention at risk and that is Unacceptable.
So what happens if I get caught sharing a badge?
Punishment for badge sharing is as follows:
The registered member who loaned/shared their badge will be removed from the convention immediately, and will be banned from attending future conventions unless and until they petition the Board of Directors for readmittance with an honest statement of wrong-doing and culpability.
The person who is in possession of a badge not theirs will be given the choice of either registering immediately paying the at-the-door rate or leaving the convention immediately AND will be banned from future conventions unless and until they petition the Board of Directors for readmittance with an honest statement of wrong-doing and culpability.
Can I lend my badge to my friend for just a little bit so he/she can see a panel/grab a snack at Consuite/shop in the Dealers Room?
No, you may not. Want to know what would happen to you? See above. Is it really worth taking the chance just so your friend can see/snack/shop?
But I can’t afford to register this year and I really want to come!
If you cannot afford to attend, then don’t attend. Do not risk your future participation by trying to attend this year illegally. We will miss you, but we promise we’ll have another convention next year. And you can always come to the hotel on Sunday and register for NEXT year using the at-the-convention rate, even if you are NOT registered for this year’s convention.