Frequently Asked Questions

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This page contains our general FAQ.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please email us at contact us.

We have included an index of all the questions on this page to help you find the one you want quickly.

 

Q:    What is a Worldcon?

A:    The World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) is an international gathering of the science fiction and fantasy communities. The Worldcon attracts members each year from North and South America, Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia. In the last decade, the convention has been held on four different continents.

Worldcons are organized and run by fans, volunteers all. The majority of the organizing/operating committee changes each year with the location of the convention, although many members volunteer their time year after year regardless of location. And yes, all the volunteers buy their memberships, too.

Attendees include authors, artists, editors, publishers, gamers, vendors, musicians, and fans. Everyone who attends joins by buying a membership. Other than Guests of Honor who have expenses covered, we have no paid presenters; everyone else you see, regardless of whether they are a first timer or an author who has sold millions of books, is paying for the privilege of attending.

You will see exhibits, vendors, the Hugo Awards ceremony, the Art Show and auction, the Masquerade, and hundreds of program items. Just before the convention, a complete program will be posted on the website so you can start planning each day of your convention. (Although you can print or access the schedule at home, when you get to the con you will receive a printed bound souvenir book and a pocket program).

Q:    Who is organizing this?

A:    The Seattle Westercon Organizing Committee, “SWOC”, is the legal entity organizing Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention. SWOC has organized other major conventions, including Westercons in 1993, 1997, 2003, and 2012, as well as Cascadia Con, the North American Science Fiction Convention in 2005. SWOC is also the parent corporation for Conflikt, the Seattle filk convention. SWOC cooperates with Norwescon and other local groups to supply local conventions with art show panels, printers, and other equipment.

In addition to SWOC membership from across the region, the Spokane fan community, including current and past leaders of Spocon, are active members and participants in Sasquan. The Spokane and eastern Washington area author and artist communities, and their extended networks of friends, are also excited about Worldcon. We will also see conrunners from Miscon in Montana, Radcon in southeastern Washington, and Fandemonium in Boise coming to conventions in the area and providing other support for Sasquan.

Q:    What is a “presupport”? Do these give a discount on attending the convention?

A:    “Presupporters” are those who support the convention when it is still a bid, prior to site selection. The money raised from presupports pays for parties, publications, the website, and related bid expenses. “Friends of the bid” are those declaring a stronger and more charitable level of support.

Presupporters who voted in site selection were offered a discount on attending memberships. This discount expired on February 28, 2015. The supporting levels and discounts that are currently available are listed on our registration page, http://sasquan.org/registration.

Q:    Is Spokane a big enough city to host a Worldcon?

A:    The National Square Dance Convention, held at the Spokane Convention Center in 2012, had over 6,000 attendees, with about 80% from out of state. Hoopfest brings a quarter million fans and players (with 7,000 teams) each June. The US National Figure Skating Competition brought in 154,000 attendees in 2007, and a record-breaking 158,000 when the ten-day competition came back to Spokane in 2010. The 1974 World’s Fair saw over 4,800,000 people come to Spokane; the World’s Fair site is now Riverfront Park in the center of the city.

Our room block is comparable to what has been reserved for other recent Worldcons. In the event of a huge influx of memberships, there are another three dozen hotels available in the area, with a total of over 7000 hotel rooms.

Q:    What is there to do in Spokane?

A:    Please see Local Attractions

Q:    What is the weather like in Spokane?

A:    According to weather.com, average daily highs in August are mid-to-low 80s, with evening lows dropping to low 60s-high 50s at night. Spokane averages 0.7 inches of rain in August (or 580 microns per day), with humidity averaging 60% in the mornings, dropping to 28% in the afternoons. Clouds are rare in the summer.

Q:    How do we get to Spokane?

A:    Spokane’s airport (IATA code GEG) sees flights on the hour to and from Seattle on Alaska Airlines, as well as direct flights from 28 hubs across North America. As a tourist town, Spokane’s air travel often increases to meet the demand of special events, so you may see other fans on flights to the Spokane Worldcon. In the 21st century, airlines adapt their schedules to meet demand. Alaska Airlines has assured us that if they see a bump in travel demand to Spokane, they will arrange for flights heading to Seattle to stop in Spokane on the way, instead of taking people to Seattle to come back to Spokane.

Spokane is on Interstate 90, a four and a half hour drive east from Seattle, a longer but still direct drive from points east for those with business reasons to travel by car, or who just want to enjoy a road trip across the American West. I-15 goes south through Montana and Idaho to Salt Lake City. Spokane is also on Amtrak’s famous northern “Empire Builder” line from Chicago and is the most important stop between Minneapolis and Seattle.

For more details, please see Air TravelTrains and Buses, or Driving and Parking.

Q:    What are the hotel rates in Spokane?

A:    Please see the Hotels page.

Q:    What about the convention center?

A:    Please see the convention center page.

Q: Where can I park?

A:    For members staying at convention hotels, information about parking at your hotel is provided on the Hotels page.

There is also paid parking at the convention center and nearby. The Spokane Convention Center indoor parking garage at 322 N Spokane Falls Ct. is shared with the Doubletree hotel. An additional lot is located across the street. Information about these and other parking options, including a map, is offered on the Spokane Parking Finder website.

Q:    What are the distances between facilities?

A:    Of the five main hotels: The Doubletree is connected by an interior tunnel to the Exhibit Hall and Convention Center building; it’s about 50 yards from each building. The Red Lion Inn at the Park is about 280 yards north of the Convention Center. The two Marriotts (Courtyard and Fairfield) are across the street from the Exhibit Hall (approx. 100 yards across the parking lots). The Davenport Hotel is approximately 800 yards from the convention site. There is a map showing relative locations on the Hotels page.

Q: Will there be a shuttle?

A: Sasquan has arranged for 24 hour shuttle service between the Spokane Convention Center (SCC)/DoubleTree, the Davenport, the Red Lion Inn at the Park, and the Red Lion River Inn. Shuttles will run approximately every 15-20 minutes. There will be signs with schedule times at each of the shuttle stops. At least one vehicle with a lift will be on duty at all times, and we are working on having lifts in all vehicles. We also know that the contracted hotels with their own shuttles are willing to transport guests staying at their hotels to other destinations in downtown Spokane, including other hotels and the SCC.
For more info see the Shuttle Service page.

Q:    What is a Masquerade?

A:    The Masquerade is a judged costuming competition and one of the most well-attended events at a Worldcon, drawing an audience that “ooh!”s and “ah”s and (sometimes) laughs at the presentation of a wide variety of costumes. Costumers display a different type of creativity than writers do, and the fruits of their labors tend to have a very short time being shown “live”, but oh, what a glorious presentation it is! Join us at 8:00 pm on Friday, August 21, 2015, for Sasquan’s Masquerade. For more details including costume categories, volunteer opportunities, and pre-registration, visit the Sasquan Masquerade page.

Q:    What about parties?

A:    The nightlife at a Worldcon is, well, very alive. Each night of the convention there will be room parties—some hosted by publishers, some by cities bidding for future Worldcons, some by fans or groups of fans. The majority of room parties are open to all members but not to the general public. At the room parties you’ll find snacks, drinks, and lots of good conversation. You might find someone making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. You might find someone else playing a theremin. You might find belly dancers.

Q: Will there be cosplay at Worldcon?

A: Yes, people have been wearing costumes at the convention since the first Worldcon in 1939. In fact the word “cosplay” was invented by a Japanese journalist after seeing people wearing costumes at LAcon 2, the 1984 Worldcon in Los Angeles. We also use the older term “hall costuming”. There will be informal awards from the Sasquan committee and perhaps others as a recognition of excellence for interesting and well-made costumes. Those may be handed out in the hallways as you go about your day if there happens to be someone nearby with those awards. You may also be found by someone from the Masquerade crew who will recruit you into the formal Masquerade for Friday evening, at your option. Be sure to drop by the Masquerade Registration Desk (near convention Registration) early in the convention to learn more about the formal Masquerade show. There will be many other costumers/cosplayers at the convention, and we look forward to seeing many and varied costumer in the hallways, from superheroes to fair maidens to aliens and beyond!

Q:    What does “Sasquan” mean and where did the name come from?

A:    Sasquan” is a portmanteau of “Sasquatch”, a mythical beast said to inhabit the forests of Washington State, and “con”. The Sasquatch has a longtime relationship to local fandom; the Seattle in 1981 Worldcon bid advertised itself with a series of cartoons featuring the creature in scenes from famous SF movies, and Sasquatches also played a role in the notorious “nuts and berries” hoax.

Q: Will childcare be available?

A: Each Child membership is eligible for 8 hours of comped childcare during Sasquan. Additionally, each Family membership is eligible for a total of 8 hours of comped childcare (not 8 hours per child in a family). Any additional hours will cost $10 per hour. Detailed childcare information and a link to the childcare registration form is provided on our Kids, Young Adult & Childcare Portal.