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Spokane wins site selection for 2015 Worldcon

The Spokane in 2015 Worldcon Bid has won the vote to host the World Science Fiction Convention.

The convention will be held at the Spokane Convention Center in downtown Spokane Washington on August 19-23, 2015. The convention will be called Sasquan.

The World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Worldcon, has been held almost every year since the first Worldcon in 1939. The premier gathering of the global science fiction community presents the Hugo Awards, the annual achievement award recognizing the best works and individual creators in the science fiction field and community.

The convention is being organized under the umbrella of SWOC, a Seattle-based 501(c)3 non-profit corporation which has run many events in the Northwest in the past, including four Westercons, the 2005 North American Science Fiction Convention, an annual conference for convention organizers called ConComCon, and a filk convention, ConFlikt. The bid also recruited many concom from Spocon, the local SF convention in Spokane, and people involved in other conventions around the world. The name of the convention, Sasquan, is associated with the Sasquatch Militia, a very unofficial grouping of fans who have helped to bid for and run other conventions in the Northwest.

The bid chose Spokane as the venue for the convention primarily for its excellent convention center as well as the convenience of being in the heart of a great downtown. The Spokane Convention Center has over 300,000 square feet of convention space. The site includes the INB Performing Arts Center, a Broadway-quality theater with excellent sight lines, acoustics, and seating. The convention site is adjacent to Riverfront Park, site of the 1974 World’s Fair and which includes the Spokane Falls, America’s second-largest urban waterfall. Downtown Spokane has over a hundred restaurants near the convention site (within 0.5 miles walking). The city’s transportation resources include Spokane International Airport (GEG), the Amtrak Empire Builder train, and Interstate 90. Spokane has an active local fan community; the local convention, Spocon, had over a thousand members in August 2013. The bid was chaired by Alex von Thorn of Toronto.

The site selection vote was conducted by LoneStarCon 3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention held in San Antonio, Texas. The vote was completed and counted on August 31, 2013. The vote was conducted using a preference ballot, also known as an “Australian ballot” or instant-runoff vote, with multiple rounds of counting the votes as lower-ranked contenders are eliminated. In the first round of counting, the results were: Helsinki 528, Spokane 470, Orlando 304, with no preference, none of the above, invalid ballots, and write-in votes for other sites totalling 46 votes. In the second round of counting, the write-in sites were removed, leaving Helsinki with 533, Spokane with 481, Orlando with 307, and 27 no preference. Orlando was then removed and its voters’ ballots were redistributed to count their second-choice selections. The third and final round of counting showed Spokane with 645 votes, Helsinki with 610, and 93 as no preference. The voting results were officially announced at the business meeting of LoneStarCon 3 on Sunday morning, September 1.

The convention co-chairs are Bobbie DuFault and Sally Woehrle from the greater Seattle area. They have thanked the Helsinki and Orlando bids for a spirited competition that let each group show off their abilities, vision, and venue.

The attending membership rate is $140. This rate will be accepted until December 31, 2013. People may register with the convention online at http://sasquan.org/registration/, or by sending in a paper registration form.