sindrian said at some point, "This con is like a swan - beautiful and graceful, but beneath the water, kicking madly." (I paraphrase.) It is true. This con happened in spite of so much, y'all. Too short a time to get things done adequately, hotel issues, performer dropouts, being scheduled against seven other major events (at last count), et cetera - but we improvised madly, as befits strowlers, and we pulled it all off magnificently.
(I thank my lucky stars for cluegirl and aquila_dominus, for aelscha and the tech crew, for everyone who was rapid-fire competent and excellent.)
As slipjig said, this con pulled off something amazing: it created a community. Everywhere I turned, we were becoming strowler family and fast friends. I've never seen that happen at a con. The size had something to do with it, but a lot of it was the people - we had such a fantastic bunch of attendees.
When you run a first-year con, you find out what kind of con it is; no amount of prep can tell you what that con will become once it actually starts happening. Some things we now know about StrowlerCon:
* There's really no barrier between performers and attendees. This was the con where the bellydancers and fiddlers in the hallway were better than the onstage performers at other festivals! And this was the con where the pros maintained no artificial barrier. It was a con of equals, and of immensely talented people in general.
* StrowlerCon is active! Next year, more workshops, fewer panels; the panels we had were fine, but strowlers want to do, not listen. This goes back to equal footing. Numerous times I saw workshop leaders taking part in other people's workshops, just because cool, new thing!
* StrowlerCon is safe space for everyone. As you know Bob, part of what I do is talk about sexual harassment et cetera at cons. There was none of that. (From our attendees, at least. Ask me about the drunk guys from the sports bar sometime.) And no one grabbed pregnant kythryne's exposed belly. And it was a safe space for all manner of gender-variant folks. LOVE it. Such a good space!
* Strowlers are excited! All the time! The con energy was fantastic. <3 And flirtiest con ever, my goodness!
It was completely amazing, especially knowing how nail-bitey we'd been behind the scenes, to see everyone having the time of their lives. I heard "Best con ever!" a lot. The guy who did the contact juggling wants to fly me out to Dallas and put me up so I can run a StrowlerCon there.
Me: "You should talk to K; he can give you everything you need to start a strowler event there -"
Him: "No, I want you!"
I will take that as a sign that I did a good job. :)
This was a con of amazed glee. Honestly, I can't sum it up for you. It was magic in the happening. Completely remarkable and unprecedented. And I *know* that everyone there will be coming back next year. And that they'll tell their friends. O my darlings, this is but the beginning of something great.