Extra Special Prom DJ!

Hey Skeptidancers!

Our SkeptiProm is always rockin’, but this year we have an extra special DJ — Victor Harris Jr! The man is a marvel — He’s not only a DJ, he’s known for his fantastic poetry, and he makes cheesecakes that we have heard are a-maze-ing!

We are so excited that Victor offered this opportunity to us and hope that you’re as excited as we are!

Click here for more information about SkeptiProm

And don’t forget to see Victor’s talk on Sunday at 2 pm!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS – The usual reminders! Please register so we can make sure we get enough stuff for everyone! Please donate if you can — we have a matching challenge active now through November 10, where all donations will be matched, up to $5,000!!!

Childcare at #SK9

Don’t forget about our super matching fundraiser! Your donations will be matched dollar for dollar! Click here to donate. Also, don’t forget to register!

Hi Skepti-parents!

Many of you have asked for childcare to be available at Skepticon. We tried to make that happen for this year, but we were unsuccessful.

However! We do have an option for you. We have 2 adjoining conference rooms that will be assigned as the kids’ rooms. They are the Kalahari Room and the Mojave Room, above and behind the Fire & Ice restaurant (click here for hotel map.)

The Kalahari Room will be left empty for free play. It’s fairly large, so kids could actually run around a little. The Mojave Room will be set up with tables and chairs. Skepticon will provide some crayons, coloring books, blank paper, dinosaur stickers, Play Doh (dollar store version), and whatever else we come across that looks like fun (and that fits our budget!) Please feel free to bring toys and activities to share, but please know Skepticon will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. We are also looking for a laptop that we can plug into the hotel’s projector system so the kids can watch movies on a big screen. It is very possible that we could even have the main stage live stream showing. Both rooms will be open Friday 8 am ­to 11 pm, Saturday 9 am to Midnight, and Sunday 9 am to 4 pm.

The one thing we don’t have is people to supervise the kids. We came across a Facebook conversation where parents were discussing how they manage kids at cons, and several said they work with other parents to do trade-off supervision — one parent watches the kids while the other goes to the talk. While this is not the most ideal situation, we hope that the Skepticon parents can work together to help each other out. Please, do not leave children unattended in the rooms! We will leave some things in the room that might help with scheduling of shifts, and suggestions are always welcome at [email protected]

We will keep trying to find childcare for future Skepticons, but hope that by providing a space for the kids, it will encourage everyone to come out for SK9!

Love,
Team Skepticon

Another Donations Matching Challenge!

Whoa nelly, Skepticon friends, have we got a whopper of a matching challenge for you!

We have an anonymous donor who will match up to $5,000. Yes, you read that correctly, FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

We were shocked. Flabbergasted even. We may have swooned slightly. And then we thanked them profusely!

So here’s the deal: The matching challenge starts today, and goes until November 10 or until the match is met. The donors will match your donations dollar for dollar. If this challenge goes to the full amount, Skepticon will receive a total of $10,000.

And it couldn’t come at a better time. As we’ve been saying, fundraising has been low this year (apparently election years are more difficult?) We have received enough donations to date that we could afford the conference basics, but only after making some painful cuts. With the money that we hope comes in, we will be able to afford Prom and all the other little activities we have planned. Then we’ll put down the deposit for SK10. Anything after that is a buffer in our bank account (which greatly reduces our stress levels!)

So we know we’ve been very persistently asking for donations this year, but this time we mean it more than we ever have before…

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!!

Every dollar really does help, and even little amounts add up quickly! Let’s see if we can make it all the way to that $5,000 limit!!

And even though our donor wants to stay anonymous, that doesn’t mean we can’t send out a dinosaur sized

THANK YOU!!

 

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — While you’re at it, click here to register if you know you’re coming to SK9, or even if you just think you are! It really helps with our planning.

SkeptiProm Info!

Howdy Skepti-people!

SkeptiProm will be making it’s third appearance on Saturday, November 12 from 9:30 pm to 1 am!

Prom has been a fantastic addition to Skepticon, hasn’t it? Team Skepticon certainly thinks so, and we’re so glad we can put it on again this year! But we know that some of our attendees weren’t able to enjoy SkeptiProm as much as they could have, or couldn’t even attend at all.

We heard from several attendees that the flashing lights were a serious problem for people with light sensitivities. We can fix that — we’re working with the lighting guy to make sure the lights are pretty but not problematic.

We also heard that the ear plugs were difficult (impossible) to find. Problem solved — they will be available right at the door. Last year, they were available at the merchandise booth… You did know we had a merch booth at Prom, right? No? Well, hm…

Hey! We have a merch booth at Prom! We have crowns and tiaras and other fun stuff to make you all fancy. Prices are super low (a crown for a quarter? Such a deal!) so bring some spare change or your credit card, and get some super Prom swag. The merchandise booth is located next to the photo booth. Which brings us to…

Make sure you come by the photo booth and get your obligatory Prom picture! The fantastic photographer Josiah Mannion will be on hand to take your picture, so make sure you bring your camera! We have lots of props for you to pose with, and a one-of-a-kind backdrop. And for those of you who were there last year — we promise we’ll have better lighting this year!

Finally, we’ll have a cash bar available right there in the Paradise Ballroom, with 4 bartenders just waiting to serve you some liquid refreshment, either alcoholic or non. And since dancing and talking makes one thirsty, we’ll have a water station available near-ish the dance floor.

And don’t forget, Prom is for everyone — it doesn’t matter whether you’re in fancy dress or shorts and t-shirt, as long as you’re enjoying yourself! We’re looking forward to letting our hair down and getting our groove on, and hope to see you there!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — Reminders! Please register if you know, or even just think, you’re coming to Skepticon. It helps us with our planning! And please donate if you can, that also helps with our planning! :D

Community: Food Pantry!

Hi Skepticon people!

Last year, we had a Food Pantry, and it phenomenally successful. So, of course, we’re having it again!

Where: Lobby of the main hall

Why: Our attendees should not go hungry just because they are financially disadvantaged, and because our attendees are incredibly generous to their fellow attendees

How: The hotel is awesome, and gives us a microwave and an urn of hot water. We will not have access to a way to keep things cold.

If you are able, please bring items to donate to the Food Pantry! For each item you bring, you will receive 1 free raffle ticket (limit 5 tickets.) Good food to bring: Fresh or canned/packaged fruit; ready-to-eat soups (not condensed); chili; “instant” foods like Cup-a-Noodles, mac & cheese cups, etc; single serving peanut butter & crackers, cheese & crackers, tuna or chicken salad & crackers, etc; single serving packages of snack foods: dried fruit, raisins, cereal, nuts, trail mix, crackers, jerky, etc; granola bars; oatmeal or Cream of Wheat packets. Also needed are paper bowls (not styrofoam, they melt in the microwave), plastic spoons and forks, and napkins or paper towels. If you’re able to accommodate dietary restrictions such as vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free, diabetic, etc, that would be super awesome. If you donate a special item, please notify us when you drop off so we can set it aside for someone who needs such an item.

If you are hungry, please come by for a snack or a meal. No questions are asked, the Food Pantry is open if you need it. As long as the doors to the conference center are open, the Food Pantry is available (e.g., late into the night Friday and Saturday.)

At the end of the conference, any food left over is offered to the Skepticon community to take home. Anything left after that is donated to Ozarks Food Harvest.

Skepticon loves all our attendees, and we want you to be happy! This is just a little way that we can help get you there.

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS – Donating food items is amazingly awesome. Donating money is too. Do what you can!

Activities: Raffle!

Hey Skepticoneers!

Our fundraising may be slower and lower than we need, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have fun at Skepticon! So many of our activities cost Skepticon nothing or very little, but add so much to the event.

The next activity we would like to announce is our raffle! Last year was our first year doing this, and it was fantastically successful and so much fun!

This is your chance to win exclusive Skepticon items, fun stuff we found, and even an item signed by the speakers!

Tickets will be $1 each or 6 for $5. You can also receive free tickets by donating items to the Food Pantry (limit 5 tickets) (and stay tuned for an announcement about the Food Pantry!)

The raffle will be held in the lobby outside the main hall. There will be 2 separate raffles: Saturday 10 am – 7 pm, winners announced at 8 pm; and Sunday 10 am – 2 pm, winners announced at 3 pm. Come by Friday to see a preview of some of the items!

Do you have something that is science/atheist/dinosaur related that you want to donate to Skepticon to raffle off? Email Bluebecca at [email protected]! Pictures of the item(s) would be appreciated :)

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS – The raffle proceeds help us offset some of the conference costs, but not all of them! Donate if you can! 

Don’t forget to reserve your hotel room!

Hey Skepticoneers!

Today is the last day Skepticon has a hold on the hotel rooms. Tomorrow they get released to the general public, which might make it harder to get a room later!

Call the Ramada Oasis at 888-532-4338 to make your reservations, and tell them you’re with Skepticon to get the discounted rate — $83 per night for standard rooms, $93 per night for pool-side or pool-view rooms. You can still get the discounted rate after tomorrow, but you must call them in order to receive the discount. They do not offer discounts on rooms booked online.

Staying at the Ramada Oasis is the most convenient option, as the hotel and conference center are all connected (you can avoid going outside for days!) Come join us!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS – Gotta to keep asking, donate if you can!

Fundraising Update!

Hey Skeptonians!

Oh, you fantastic people, you are so wonderful! As you have heard, our one week matching donation challenge was hugely successful. Over $1,000 was donated in just the final 24 hours! The total donated was over $3,000. So amazing! At the same time, we also received a couple of sponsorships, and vendors paid the fees for their table. All in all, we received almost $5,000 last week.

What does that mean for our budget? Quite a bit, it turns out.

Our budget for a “bare-bones” conference was about $25,000. We poked and prodded at the numbers, and reduced the budget down to $23,000. We are currently less than $500 away from that amount, and we’re confident we can get that in the next month.

There is a huge weight being lifted off of us, and it’s all because of our marvelous donors, sponsors, and tablers!

From here on out, all the money that comes in will go towards fun stuff like merchandise and our plethora of activities (oh, just wait until you hear about our activities!), and towards the deposit to the hotel for Skepticon 10!

We thank you, so very much, from the top and bottom of our little dino hearts <3

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — Don’t get us wrong, we’re sooooo happy with what we have already received, but we do need more… so donate if you can!

Why you should pre-register for a free conference

Hi Skeptonites!

We know that sometimes people ask, “Why should I register for a free conference? Can’t I just do it when I get there?” And the answer is yes, at-con check in is available, and we welcome anyone who chooses to do that!

But there are benefits for attendees who pre-register:

  • Dedicated, easy to find check-in line at registration!
  • Faster check-in at registration!
  • Be entered into a raffle for a special prize! (this will be separate from the general raffle that will be announced soon)

There are also benefits to Skepticon for you pre-registering. Planning for a conference involves a lot of ordering of stuff. It’s hard to know how much to order if we don’t know how many people are coming. If we have a better idea of how many attendees we’ll have, we can save a lot of money. We always over-order on stuff, because we want to make sure everyone gets stuff, but there’s over-ordering and then there’s OMG we totally over-ordered 0.0

So, if you’re going to come to Skepticon, or even if you think you might, do us a favor and register!

Click here to register!

 

Bunches of thanks!
Team Skepticon

PS – As always, donate if you can!

PPS – I finally learned how to format in WordPress. Yay me!