February 27-29, 2004
AKA Big Lick. Seriously. Nicknamed for the salt licks that attracted wildlife (and those who hunted them), the Capital of the Blue Ridge is a city that still thinks it’s a little town. In my opinion, it’s the perfect location for SheVaCon. The Holiday Inn Tanglewood is nestled on a hillside with quick access to dining, shopping, and a cinema. The hotel has a decent restaurant as well as a bar that serves more than just beige water on tap. However, it’s clear that SheVaCon is about to burst the seams on the joint. The registration area was abundantly buzzing with people, the gaming area hadn’t an empty seat to be found and every session I attended was practically SRO. SheVaCon organizers were proud to say that they saw a 30% increase in attendance over last year but stopped short of saying “now where do we go?”. How did they master such an increase—when every other regional Con saw a drop in their numbers? Solid guests (Charles Keegan was Artist GOH; Rikk Jacobs, Master of Ceremonies; Jim Butcher, the Writer GOH; and a massive turnout of Baen authors) and good programming; there were over forty unique events in less than sixteen hours of event schedule. The program guide, while slight on program descriptions, became an item to cherish for its thoughtful, touching series of tributes to Hal Clement, a writer, artist and gracious friend of fandom who passed away in late 2003. So, Robert Roberts and crew will have their work cut out for them in 2005 as they’re keeping the same location and, as always, looking to bring even more Fen together. We’re certain they’ll remain creative with their content. But, as in real estate, it’s all about location. SheVaCon 13 will be held the weekend of February 25-27, 2005. For more info, check out their website: www.shevacon.org.