Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weetacon VII – Green Bay, WI

Once a year (see, I already lied – it’s 1.5 times a year), a close knit group of writers (mostly bloggers and a few published book authors, as well) convenes in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The word “convenes” should indicate to you this is a convention of sorts. The kids these days are too lazy to say the whole word, so they shorten it to just “con”. Additionally, it is hosted by the best hostess in the word, Weetabix, which is how we’ve arrived at the official title for this annual (plus .5) convention of socially awkward and incredibly lovely people called “Weetacon”.

(I say .5 because they have a mini-weetacon in a various city during the off-season as well, it’s just less-well attended.)

The entire event doubles as a large fund raiser for local foodbank and there are many many many ways for you to separate yourself from your money for a good cause. Raffles – I mean ENORMOUS raffles -, bake sales (which I’m amazed they pull off at all since people fly in from all over the country and a bunch from Canada), calendar sales and cookbook sales. And I haven’t even gotten to the events portion. There are simply too many events to highlight all in one post, plus there are probably a few incriminating photos which will remain undiscovered as well. However, so you understand the kind of people I associate with and what the best convention in the world entails, I will tease you with a few photos and descriptions of the aforementioned convention. (Plus I want to torture M.Giant since he was unable to attend Weetacon AGAIN this year…)

Furthermore, if any of the Weetacon sponsors should happen across this post, please be assured this is a very serious writers conference and there are a variety of workshops and focus groups that attendees participate in. There are also various competitions – most of which involve drinking and/or yelling.

Additionally, we do a lot of things like eating. Buffet-style gorging always works for me.

And we do a considerable amount of drinking of adult beverages. This is done primarily at a wonderful little place called the Sardine Can – also known as “The Bad Bar” – because bad things happen here. Prompted by things like long-distance shots using a golf ball retriever holding a shot glass by the bartender from 25 feet away and a snow-ski limbo that sometimes breaks out.I mentioned the Bad Bar in a previous post a while back if you're interested.

Yes, those are some of our Weetacon attendees dancing on the bar, as well as a Weetacon pimp standing in front making sure no one touches the merchandise.

Mom, earmuffs. Also, twice a night at the Bad Bar, they have vibrator races. Before the races start, there is the playing of the national anthem, a surround sound F-16 flyover, and then things get lively. Bar patrons are encouraged to choose their racer using small slips of paper with the number of your racer on it. The racers are all turned on (pun intended) and vibrate their way down the course to an incredibly loud array of drunken cheering. Then if you pick the winning “pony”, you get a free shot of something awful that the bartenders are trying to get rid of. I wish I were kidding, but sadly, I’m not.

With enough adult beverages, you might wonder why it’s called the Bad Bar, especially when Weetabix hands you delicious cotton candy to help “soak up the alcohol”.

But then non-Weetacon DBags eventually make their way to our section of the bar and get grope-y. Then Weetacon secret militia steps in a starts slapping and punching. Yes, again, I’m not joking.

There are soooo many reasons to go to the Bad Bar (and a list exponentially longer to regret going once you’re about 27 drinks in…). A non-exhaustive list might include: an entire wall that moves to make the standing room more narrow since it’s “always packed” inside; a list of rules on a chalkboard including no drinks with more than three ingredients; an outside bar totally tarped off with suspended swings instead of bar stools; a bathroom in which you need to wash your hands after washing your hands; a trophy hammerhead shark with a bra on it; an amazing collection of musical tunes to scream loudly with; a wide variety of stickers applied by the bartenders when they feel someone is “top heavy” or has a “trophy rack”; bartenders that play dueling banjos on Southern Comfort bottles and then finish with a chug contest; and soooo many more things. You really need to be there to experience it.

Towards closing, we all head over to a 24-hour place for “Pantscakes”. I’m not sure of the origin of this name, but it’s always a good time and the food at the Black Stone Family Restaurant is amazingly helpful at soaking up anything you might have accidentally drunk at the Bad Bar. The breakfast there is worth a look, however, this year we ate while pondering the question……..

Chef’s hat or balls?

The following morning, we all gather in the banquet room of the host hotel and various prizes and trophies are issued. Some are made up due to incidents during that weekend, and some are long-standing Weetacon traditions.

I won four trophies this year, which I think is pretty good since I missed over half of the events and festivities. I do have to thank Frau Scientits and Apron of roller derby fame-iosity for loaning me the recipe for their patented ICP Chex Mix which I mailed to Weetabix the prior week to make it into the bake sale. Apparently it was a huge success, winning me two different trophies for the ICP Chex Mix alone!

I sincerely love all of these people and even though I only see some of them once a year, we have a blast like we’ve been seeing each other daily for our entire lives. There’s a boat load of work that goes into this event and people involved aren’t thanked nearly enough, but my true and sincere thanks go out to all of the organizers of this event.

I wish my work schedule had allowed me to attend the entire Weetacon this year, but due to an upcoming trip to China, I had mandatory engagements that allowed me to attend only a small portion of the weekend. Next year, I will make up for it!

Sleep well, Weetacon-ers. Going back to real life sucks, especially when you’ve only gotten 3 hours of sleep over four nights…


Amy said...

You better attend all the festivities next year! Seriously, it was great to see you. In addition to Joe Rauer's, I had a cheeseberger at Al's before leaving town. Have you been to Al's? Holy cow. Between the burgers, brats and cheese curds, I had to drink Bloody Mary's to keep scurvy at bay.

lee said...

damn, i read about this every year and i have yet to go. either i don't have the money or i don't have the time. i'm not sure if i would be welcomed, but if everybody gets totally ripped, maybe no one will notice i'm not one of the cool kids. i will have to start training my vibrator to win the race.

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