A Newbie’s Survival Guide to JordanCon
by Guest Blogger Leslie Annis
We've compiled a hit list for newbies to ensure they get the most out of their whirlwind JordanCon weekend. (And a whirlwind weekend it will be, in the best of ways—trust!)
When you think JordanCon, you probably think Wheel of Time, but it’s far more than that. One thing that surprises many newbies is how many con-attendees haven’t even finished reading the series. In fact, you can go all weekend without talking WoT at all! If you’re intimidated by attending solo, think of bringing a non-Wheel-of-Time-reading friend—there are plenty of things to do that are not Wheel of Time specific, and JordanCon is a family friendly convention with lots to offer.
Remember: everyone's out to have a good time, and you'll come away from a whirlwind weekend feeling like you've met family you didn't know you had.
JordanCon Specific Programming
- Google those guests of honor before you even get to JordanCon. Check out the author guests and artists, too. You might be surprised whose work you recognize, even if their name doesn’t immediately pop out at you. JordanCon hosts a great group of talented authors and artists so check your shelves and come prepared to get your stuff signed—or buy something at the con and have it personalized while you’re there!
- Tracks and panels: JordanCon as a convention is organized into tracks—different subject areas for its panel discussions. There's lots to choose from to keep you entertained over the weekend. You can discuss WoT to your heart’s content in The World of the Wheel track; hit up the Writer’s Track to polish some skills; discuss Sci-Fi in the Robots & Rivets track or Fantasy TV theories in Swords and Sorcery; talk about Brandon Sanderson’s Worlds; learn more about our artist and author guests; learn a new craft in one of our Workshops; become a blademaster, and more!
- DeepSouthCon: JordanCon first hosted DeepSouthCon in 2013, and has the distinction of hosting DeepSouthCon again in 2016 (that’s a good sign of fun to be had, folks). Come and watch the awarding of the annual Phoenix and Rebel awards, check out the Annual Hearts Tournament, and meet fans of other Science Fiction and Fantasy fandoms.
- Wheel of Time Speed Friending: Don’t know anybody? Hit up the speed friending panel—a perfect way for newbies to meet con veterans and more new faces. It’s handily the last panel before the dinner break, so you can hang out with the friends you just made!
- Open gaming: it is what it sounds like—an open invite to play games on site, and make new friends around the gaming tables. And there's usually a games vendor in the gaming room—great place to buy more souvenirs and chat up a professional who can recommend you new games based on what you've enjoyed playing in the past.
- Sign up for Kaffeeklatsches: a kaffeeklatsch is an informal gathering at which coffee is served, and it’s a great way to get up-close and personal with JordanCon’s guests! There’s a limited number of spots available, so get on the list early. Details will be in the JordanCon program, on the app, or just ask the friendly faces at the registration desk—they know it all, and if they don’t, they know how to find out!
- Be prepared in advance for Workshops you’re interested in: is preregistration required? Are there any costs involved? Do you need to bring your own materials? The JordanCon website will keep you up to date, and the best way to get into your top picks is to be informed and prepared!
- Evening entertainment: after the dinner break, panels get a little... sillier... come evening. Hey, we all have to let loose sometimes—and where better to tell your dirty WoT jokes?
- Saturday night dance: ever popular, it’s everyone’s favourite dance party—it’s been known to be crashed by bar mitzvah guests and bridal parties (we couldn’t make this up if we tried). Make sure you’re there to see what happens this year!
- Room parties: our fellow conventions like to promote themselves and that means more fun for everyone! Keep an eye out for posters (check the elevators!), and note the room numbers and times for those room parties—you won’t want to miss them. You’ll meet lots of new people, maybe imbibe a drink or two, and perhaps discover another convention you might like to add to your hit list!
Hot Spots Beyond the Tracks:
- The Art Show: The Wheel of Time world has talented artists, and at JordanCon we are blessed to see their work up close on display. JordanCon's artists are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet, and they do more than just WoT; every genre from science fiction, fantasy, horror, and realism, and any medium you can think of—even traditional Ukrainian pysanky! Some of it is up for auction, and some you can buy in print form. Don't forget to vote for your favourites in the show!
- Dealers’ Hall: it’s the place to buy all your souvenirs... a chance to check out that Ta'veren Tees merchandise up close, and maybe buy a pair of elf ears, too. JordanCon's Dealers’ Room has hosted an eclectic array of vendors in the past, from costume companies, collectables, henna artists, book sellers, leatherwork, photography, and more! Kill a bit of time between panels by checking it out!
- JordanCon Charity Auction: want to snag a unique souvenir while donating to charity? Check out the charity auction; it always has a diverse assortment of items generously donated by the JordanCon community—Harriet notoriously donates something from RJ's office every year, so come see some one-of-a-kind WoT memorabilia! Have something you’re interested in donating? Keep an eye on the JordanCon website for details closer to April.
- Seanchan Hold’em Poker Tournament: just what it sounds like, a poker tournament with a Wheel of Time spin. It runs on Friday night at JordanCon. Sign up and try your luck—it’s all in the name of charity.
- Costuming: contrary to some people’s beliefs, you do NOT need to have a costume for JordanCon! But if that’s your thing, rest assured you won’t be the only one wearing a costume. If you’re really keen, enter the costume contest; it has historically been on Saturday afternoon before the dinner break. Please be respectful of our cosplayers and costumers—using manners goes a long way for pics—and be sure to abide by JordanCon’s costume contest rules and weapons policy.
General Con Survival Tips
- Stay on site if you can: partying goes well into the early hours, and even if you’re not one to imbibe, you’ll be surprised by how quickly that time flies, and you’re not going to want to travel far to rest your head. JordanCon 8 will be at the Atlanta Marriott at Perimeter Center, and has its own room block offered at $95 USD per night plus taxes. So grab a room on site and relax (there’s even a pool, and WiFi!), maybe find a friend and split the cost—you’ll be glad you did.
- Use MARTA: Atlanta’s transit system is a great, cost-effective way to get around easily, be it straight from the airport or elsewhere in the city. Dunwoody Station is close to the Atlanta Marriott at Perimeter Centre—it’s a short walk uphill from the station to the hotel, and no worries about that legendary Atlanta traffic!
- Download the app: Every year our whizzbang app designers kick out a free update for our interactive app to help our con attendees—you can use it to earmark panels of interest, give feedback on the convention, and be kept up to date all weekend long. Available in the Apple Store or on Google Play.
- Register before December 31st if possible: the three day membership price increases at the start of the New Year, so be sure to get it at the best price before that happens!
- Volunteer: know no one? Lend a hand for an hour or two out of your weekend—you’ll meet new faces, and maybe earn yourself some swag!
- Wear comfortable footwear: ask yourself what shoes you own that even if you wore them 24-7 without a break they would still feel comfortable. For many travelers, packing multiple pairs of shoes isn’t an option. Forgo looking cute for something with durability and support. You want to be able to dance your butt off and enjoy your time, not sit it out because those Stone Dogs are barking!
- Food: there’s a restaurant in the hotel lobby and places to eat nearby, but pack yourself some granola bars, protein shake powder, or anything that constitutes a quick and easy snack for when you realize you forgot to eat (it will happen). The consuite is a JordanCon-run hotel suite with free snacks and drinks, and it’s a great place for a quick bite in between panels. It also tends to be a bit quieter than the main floor and offers a chance to meet other con attendees—there are always friendly faces in the consuite—check the JordanCon program or app for its operating hours.
- Water: while there’s plenty of hotel-offered jugs of ice water outside the panels, bring your own stainless steel water bottle to refill over the weekend. Your drink won’t look like everyone else’s, a refillable bottle will hold more than the glasses offered by the hotel, and it’ll be less likely to spill. Keeping hydrated—and keeping that hangover at bay, if you’re the type to imbibe—is an essential to ensuring a good JordanCon weekend.
- Sleep: er... on second thought, you likely won’t sleep. However, as long as the other legs of your food-water-sleep tripod are solid, you’re less likely to fall down completely. So pick the two you know you can follow through on, and party until your wee heart’s content. If you know you can’t sleep well on the road or with all the excitement, ensure you’re eating well and have lots of water; otherwise you’re setting yourself up for burnout.
- Hand washing: there’s a funny little thing we like to call Con Crud that goes around... shortly after that incredibly busy weekend you’re struck by a mystery illness (not to be confused with post-Con Depression—which is when you’re stuck in a bluesy state lamenting another turning of the Wheel before you see your JordanCon friends again). An easy way to circumvent this tragedy is to wash your hands—down with Con Crud!
- Read your program: this sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised. Your program not only gives you the skinny on what’s what over the weekend, it’s also chock full of goodies like games, ads, coupons, and more. Plus it makes a great souvenir!
- Dress comfortably: comfortable shoes, but comfortable clothes, as well. The hotel has air conditioning, and it’s usually cool inside. A layer of clothing you can peel off if you’re too warm is helpful—and it’s a chance to wear that Aes Sedai shawl you want to show off!
- Remembering stuff: in all the hustle and bustle and excitement, it’s easy to forget where things are... where the Consuite is, where your friends’ room is, where your own room is... start a memo on your phone to keep track of all those pieces of information. That way when you’re sleep-deprived and impatient your tech can save the day!
- Pre-order your con shirt: it’s a souvenir and clean clothes in one! Remember to pre-order your JordanCon shirt to ensure they have one for you to pick up at the convention. It’s a limited run of shirts and you must pick it up in person at the con, so if you don’t pre-order, Ta’veren Tees might not have your size left!
All this, and we haven’t mentioned shenanigans once (until now, heh).
So, if you’re thinking you might attend JordanCon, remember: pre-register now, and don’t miss out!