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THANK YOU to everyone who attended Farpoint 2014! We appreciate everyone’s support — those who attended, those who volunteered, and those who provided programming — and an extra THANK YOU to you if you did more than one of those things! We look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Even with Winter Storm Pax being thrown at us, we were making lemonade out of lemons as fast as we can. Phil LaMarr’s flight got cancelled? We Skyped him into the ballroom for his talk. The Thursday delivery date for equipment showed extremely bad weather? Let’s get the stuff in on Wednesday. The same bad Thursday weather was going to wreck havoc with Alan Dean Foster’s flight that day? Alan himself fixed that by coming in on a Friday red-eye. These examples and more show fandom’s can-do spirit!

Another part of fandom’s can-do spirit is the extreme generosity shown at our charity auction this year. Melissa McBride and Alan Dean Foster both provided auction items and our members’ generosity garnered $2700 for the Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. Upon hearing the number, Melissa McBride pulled out another $300 to make the donation an even $3000. When I commented that our Karen Donnelly, committee member and member of the Julien board of directors, would cry upon hearing this, Melissa replied “let’s make her bawl”, and whipped out another $100! Melissa – mission accomplished. Thanks to everyone for their generosity.

And not to say that Farpoint 2014 didn’t have its share of challenges. We very much appreciated getting input from members at our Open Committee Meeting at the end of the convention. A big issue was the speed of food service at the restaurant. We discussed the feedback we received with the hotel’s General Manager and are already generating ideas to make the convention food service better next year. On the plus side, adding the extra cash bar at 10 Forward on Saturday helped take some of the pressure off the main bar during the party so this is something we will definitely continue.

We are always interested in hearing from our members with ideas for programs and improvements. Please go to the Contact us link at the top of the http://www.farpointcon.com web page to send us your thoughts. You can also find us on our Farpoint Convention Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farpoint-Convention/171777342838129), our Farpoint Convention Google+ page (https://plus.google.com/+Farpointcon/posts), and our @FarpointCon feed on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FarpointCon). We are always interested in hearing from you!

And mark your calendars now! Farpoint 22 will be held on February 13-15, 2015. See you then.

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Farpoint Convention is almost here! Keep checking our website (www.farpointcon.com), our Facebook Page (Farpoint Convention) and our Twitter feed (@FarpointCon) for the most up to date news! Please “LIKE” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter – thank you!

On the website – the convention schedule was posted on Feb 2nd! Go to the “2014 Schedule” link to check it out. But remember to follow the final schedule you receive at the convention to ensure you catch up on any changes from the last 2 weeks!

The Autographs page of the website has also been updated with information on costs and availability for our guests.

The weather report for the Baltimore, MD area is looking good for the weekend. Friday temperatures during the day will be in the low to mid 40s, with Saturday and Sunday in the mid 30s. Any precipitation during the weekend will be rain. Please be safe traveling, especially our friends from up north.

Don’t forget to attend our Cocktail Party and Opening Ceremonies on Friday at 7pm to start your weekend! Guests from all of our tracks will be attending. There will be a cash bar and food tickets available if you wish to partake of food and/or drink, but these purchases are at your discretion and not necessary to attend the event. Come mix and mingle with fellow convention members, committee, staff and guests.

We are looking forward to welcoming our Fandom family back to Farpoint Convention – travel safe and see you all soon.

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We’ve been posting announcements and previews of events coming up at Farpoint on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farpoint-Convention/171777342838129. We started last week and are continuing from now until Farpoint next month. One thing to note – dates and times may change between now and the final schedule publication in early February so make sure to double check the final schedule.

The week of 1/5/14 to 1/11/14, we’ve learned about:

– A panel discussion from our Media track: “The New Doctor: A Major Change of Prescription”. This panel was originally scheduled for Friday but now looks to be moving to Saturday 2/15/14.

– There will be a presentation by Dr. Inge Heyer on “The Mysteries of Mars” by Dr. Inge Heyer, Saturday 2:00 pm

– Fun and NEW on Sunday at 11:00 am – a Swing Dance Workshop with Iver Cooper. If you went to the one at Balticon, you know how much fun it will be.

– All weekend in the Game Room: Gaming Miniature and Model Contest with Beginner, Intermediate and Expert categories. Awards on Sunday at noon.

– Our wonderful Art Show goes on all weekend, featuring artists from around the country. The Art Show will feature the “Buy It Now” option with most pieces and pieces with 3 or more bids will go to the Art Auction on Sunday at 10:00 am.

– A Charity Auction will be held Friday evening as part of the Opening Ceremonies to benefit the Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. Friday items will include drinks with Phil LaMarr on Saturday evening.

– Need costume help or advice? Come to the Masquerade Presentation Clinic, Saturday 12:00 pm

Follow us on Facebook to get your previews first!

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Hello fellow FARP Fanatics! Here’s an update on what’s going to happen at Farpoint Convention, February 14-16, 2014.

1. Don’t forget to pre-register! Your early registration gets you a lower number in the autograph line for Melissa McBride and saves you money since at the door prices will be higher. Register online through our website, www.farpointcon.com or you can print the flier from our website and mail in your registration. Pre-registration deadline is January 31, 2014.

2. Book your hotel room! You should call the hotel directly at 410-252-7373 for reservations. Our beloved Crowne Plaza is in the middle of negotiations to align with another hotel group, which means that going through the IHG website or other online booking tools may not work properly. Calling the hotel directly is your best bet. Hotel deadline is January 15, 2014.

3. Make your plans for Friday! Activities will be starting at 1:00 PM and go all the way through to late night. There will be panels in our Media (Movies/TV), Authors and Science tracks, gaming at Hal’s Place, and our evening Pajama Party as part of our Children/Youth track. Friday’s main attraction is our Opening Ceremonies, which start at 7:00 pm with a Cocktail Party and continue with the presentation of the Volker/McChesney award for service to fandom, the first of our Live Charity Auctions and a live performance by Prometheus Radio Theatre with special guest stars Melissa McBride and Phil LaMarr. There will be a cash bar in the ballroom; the hotel’s famous pasta bar service will also be available for an additional $25. You can add on the Cocktail Party food now, or decide at the door (numbers at the door may be limited). Late night Friday will feature the Farpoint Book Fair where you can meet your favorite authors and Vic’s Place karaoke featuring the Pack Ratz.

4. Be there on Saturday for all the fun! Saturday programming will start at 10:00 am and go all the way through to the wee hours of Sunday morning. We’re very excited about this year’s slate of panels and events in our Authors, Media (Movies/TV), Science, New Media (Filmmaking, Podcasting, Webcomics, etc.), Children/Youth, Costuming and Live Performances tracks.  Don’t forget the Masquerade Saturday night, with our second Live Charity Auction taking place at halftime! There will workshops and demonstrations in the atrium, club meetings, game shows, talks, gaming, Art Show, panels and more. The final schedule will be published around February 1, 2014 to give you time to make your plans for the convention.

5. Don’t forget Sunday! Sunday programming will start at 10:00 am and wrap up with the 5:00 pm Open Committee Meeting. This is where you get to sit down will the Farpoint committee and talk with us about the things you like at the convention and things you’d like to see for the future. Some of our best ideas come from this meeting, and we’d love to see you there. Panels and events in all of our program tracks will be going on all day until the start of the Open Committee Meeting. The Art Auction will take place on Sunday morning. A new activity this year will be a Swing Dance Workshop in the atrium conducted by author guest Iver Cooper. It was a big hit at Balticon this year, so if you missed it there you can catch it at Farpoint.

6. Volunteer for a panel! We have a preliminary list of panels and we are now looking for panelists. If you would like to receive a copy of the list, email us at Programs@farpointcon.com.

7. Get your costume ready! Our Masquerade will be held on Saturday evening with celebrity guests Melissa McBride, Phil LaMarr and Alan Dean Foster among the judges. We will be staging Costuming/Masquerade panels this weekend to help you focus your Masquerade presentation and learn new costuming skills.

8. Get your autographs! Melissa McBride from The Walking Dead will be signing at a formal session on Saturday and Sunday. The line for these sessions will be organized by your badge number. Each convention member will receive one signature on an item they present for signing at no additional charge – this is part of your registration! Weekend members will get one signature on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday members will be one signature on the day they attend. Melissa will also be available at other times throughout the weekend to sign/sell additional items and take at the table photos. Cost for additional signatures and items will be announced closer to the convention. Phil LaMarr from Futurama/Samurai Jack/TMNT will be signing throughout the weekend. He will be charging for his signature and will accept either items you bring or an item you purchase at his table for signing. Phil will also be available for at the table photos. The price list for Phil’s signatures will be announced closer to the convention.

9. Budget for the Charity Auction! We are going to have some amazing goodies available at our Charity Auction to benefit The Julien Fleming Memorial Fund (our official charity) and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. I’m going to let our Charity Auction department give the details soon, but here’s a hint: we have something special from NASA and not one- not two- but THREE private celebrity experiences to auction off! There will be two Live Charity Auctions, one Friday night during the Opening Ceremonies and one Saturday night during Masquerade, plus a silent auction staged in Chesapeake 3-5 along with our Art Show. Your generosity is always appreciated.

10. Donate An Hour! Would you like to be a part of the convention happenings? Do you have an hour to spare? Well your one hour can be a big help to keep things running smoothly at the convention. Volunteers get a FARP t-shirt and raffle tickets for a daily prize drawing limited just to our volunteer corps. Email us at Volunteers@farpointcon.com for information, and thank you!

11. Show Off Your Miniatures and Clear Out Your Closet! Hal’s Place Gaming Oasis is hosting a Miniatures Contest this year! Hand painted miniatures and models of all types, from members of all skill levels, will be accepted for display in the Game Room throughout the weekend. Final judging will be held Sunday, February 16, 2014 at noon. There will be 3 skill level categories – beginner, intermediate and advanced – with an award for each category. AND the Gamer’s Flea Market will again be held in the Game Room during the convention weekend. Used games and supplies will be accepted for sale/swap throughout the weekend at $1.00 per item. Sales proceeds go to the individual seller. The selling fees will be donated to our charities, The Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

12. Follow Us For The Latest News! We’re on Facebook (Farpoint Convention), Twitter (@FarpointCon), and on our web blog (https://farpoint.wordpress.com). Our convention website is http://www.FarpointCon.com.

13. Have Fun At The Convention! We are grateful for each one of you who joins us for the convention weekend. There will be 200+ hours of events from Friday to Sunday and we want you to be satisfied that we have put on the best show possible. Thank you as always for your continued support of Farpoint Convention and we’ll see you soon!

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Hal’s Place Gaming Oasis at Farpoint 2014 will be hosting a Miniatures Competition during the weekend. Handmade miniatures and models of all types, from members of all skill levels, will be accepted for display in the Game Room throughout the weekend. Final judging will be held Sunday, February 16, 2014 at noon. There will be 3 skill level categories – beginner, intermediate and advanced – with an award for each category.

The Gamer’s Flea Market will again be held in the Game Room during the convention weekend. Used games and supplies will be accepted for sale/swap throughout the weekend at $1.00 per item. Sales proceeds go to the individual seller. The selling fees will be donated to our charities, The Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

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Farpoint 2014 autograph news for our FARP Fanatics!.

– Melissa McBride from The Walking Dead will be signing at a formal session on Saturday and Sunday. The line for these sessions will be organized by your badge number (the earlier you register for the convention the lower your badge number and the sooner you will be called for the autograph line). Each convention member will receive one signature on an item they present for signing at no additional charge on Saturday and Sunday. This is part of your weekend or daily membership! Weekend members will get one signature on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday members will be one signature on the day they attend. Melissa will also be available at other times throughout the weekend to sign/sell additional items and take at the table photos. Cost for additional signatures and items will be announced closer to the convention.

– Phil LaMarr from Futurama/Samurai Jack/TMNT will be signing throughout the weekend. He will be charging for his signature and will accept either items you bring or an item you purchase at his table for signing. Phil will also be available for at the table photos. The price list for Phil’s signatures will be announced closer to the convention.

– Our authors will be available on Friday evening at our Book Fair to meet, greet and sign. They will sign your book at no charge. The authors will have copies of their latest books for sale and will sign your purchased books as well. As of now, all of our author guests (including Alan Dean Foster, Crazy 8 Press and Firebringer Press) plan to attend the Friday Book Fair. There will also be additional signing times for individual authors throughout the weekend, which will be included on the program schedule.

– A special feature at the Friday Book Fair will be a table dedicated to Ann Crispin and her books. Plans are in development for this and other memorial events at Farpoint. Please let us know your ideas on honoring Ann and her memory, and we will announce more details as plans come together.

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MartyAs many of you have already heard, fandom lost a giant on July 18 with the passing of Marty Gear. Marty was a member of the Farpoint committee, managing our charity auction up through this past February. He and his late wife Bobby were the second recipients of the Volker/McChesney Award for service to fandom. Marty was also a long time member of Costume Guild and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and ran the Masquerade for their annual Balticon. He was seen onstage hosting each Balticon masquerade in his trademark vampire attire with his non-stop patter of bad vampire jokes.

A visit to Marty’s home was always a delight. Marty and Bobby had collected amazing treasures during their travel, which were lovingly displayed throughout the house. Any object you could point to had a story attached to it. Marty’s travels started when he was young and began attending science fiction conventions. I remember sitting in his living room being absolutely jealous as Marty told the story of how he met one of my personal favorite writers, Isaac Asimov, at one of his first worldcons.

Marty’s generosity was as large as his store of bad vampire jokes. He could always be counted on to share his home, possessions, time or money when there was a need. A few years ago, we needed a last minute location for a Farpoint meeting and Marty volunteered his house. I arrived to Casa Gear to be treated to a huge pile of boxed and bagged snacks on the kitchen counter. “Marty, the committee doesn’t eat THAT much!” I said. Marty replied, “Oh, it’s okay. I just got back from the store. Most of this is for tonight’s meeting at the BSFS clubhouse.” Marty had decided to completely over-schedule himself in order to accommodate with a grocery shopping trip and two separate committee meetings in order to help us out. That’s the kind of guy he was.

Marty, your many friends will miss you terribly but we take comfort in our memories of you and the knowledge that you are now reunited with your beloved Bobby.

Sharon VanBlarcom, Farpoint convention co-chair

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