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First Fandom at MidAmericon II
Kansas City, Missouri August 17-21, 2016
Article & photos by Keith W. Stokes

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The 74th World Science Fiction Convention was held in Bartle Hall Convention Center in downtown, Kansas City, Missouri on August 17-21, 2016. Convention Center Portions of the Muehlebach Hotel, which housed the 34th Worldcon in 1976 are incorporated in the Marriott, which was the largest of the hotels housing members of this year's Convention.

The dealerís room, art show, exhibit hall, gaming, con suite, party booths, fan tables and site selection were all housed in one exhibit hall, and First Fandom's fan table location was ideal. NASFiC Site Selection Table I can't think of a spot which would have been better. We were situated on the main aisle, where most people going to or from exhibits, dealer's room or art show went past our table. SFWA was to our left, University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections was on our right and the bid tables were across the aisle. First Fandom had two long fan tables with two large bulletin boards behind the booth. Our exhibit featured six posters depicting a history of First Fandom, the Big Heart Award and St. Fantony. 

First Fandom's fan table at MidAmericon II
First Fandom's fan table
Keith Stokes and Steve Francis at First Fandom's fan table
Keith W. Stokes & Steve Francis

The fan tables had free information about First Fandom. Steve Francis prepared a display of historic material, including reproductions of pulp magazine covers First Fandom Fan Tables and Display Steve and I staffed the tables for about 15 hours during the weekend. We met a lot of people and sold all of the copies of the First Fandom Magazine Annual. Almost all programing was held in other rooms in the convention center, with the largest events in auditoriums which had been renamed the Tucker Stage and Pat Cadigan Theater for the weekend. 

Keith and Steve present the awards First Fandom's awards were presented at the beginning of the Retro Hugo Award Ceremony on Thursday evening. Steve Francis presented the Hall of Fame Awards to Ben Bova and to Joseph Wrzos. Rick Wilber accepted the award on behalf of Ben Bova and Steve accepted for Joseph Wrzos.

I presented and accepted the Posthumous Hall of Fame Awards on behalf of Olon F. Wiggins, Lew Martin and Roy V. Hunt. I presented and accepted the Sam Moskowitz Archive Award for Cuyler W. "Ned" Brooks, Jr., the first ever to be given posthumously. First Fandomís Awards concluded with presentation of the Sam MoskowitzArchive Award to Stephen D. Korshak. Stephen gave an acceptance speech and was the only recipient to receive any of the awards in person that night.

The highlight of the evening came as they were wrapping up the ceremony. The house manager came forward and said that A.E. Van Vogt's granddaughter had driven 25 straight hours to be there and then they brought her to the stage. The Retro Hugo Award for Slan (Best Novel category) was brought back out and presented to Charlene Piper in an emotional moment. I spoke with her during the group photo after the awards and learned that she had driven from Idaho and literally walked into the room after the winnerís name was announced.

Rick Wilber, Stephen D. Korshak, Francis, Keith W. Stokes
L-R: Rick Wilber, Stephen D. Korshak, Francis, Keith W. Stokes

The Masquerade was held the following evening and the Hugo Awards were presented on Saturday evening. At the outset of the Hugo Awards Ceremony, Sue Francis presented the Big Heart Award to Edie Stern and Joe Siclari.

This year's convention was somewhat handicapped by the hotels forcing the parties to be held in the Convention Center and the huge cost of having everything provided by the caterer. That didnít matter very much to those who received invitations to George R.R. Martin's 2nd Annual Losers Party, which was held a couple of blocks away at the 3,573-seat Midland Theatre. The Renaissance Revival style theatre (built in 1927) is now a beautiful event space.

The party included BBQ, desserts, multiple free bars, a live band and the 2nd presentation of Alfie Awards made from actual hood ornaments.

Official head count for Midamericon II was 4602 Attending Members, and 7338 Total Members (including Supporting).

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