Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Westercon Field Work in Tonopah

Saturday we spent a lot of time in Tonopah doing what we think of as "field work" for the bid, investigating how Tonopah deals with their largest event of the year. This also allowed us to get photos of what the Tonopah Convention Center looks like when there's an actual event in it.

But first, we stopped in to talk with and buy things from a store where Lisa has been before on one of our previous trips.

Vanwood Variety Store

This is Vanesa DeJoode, owner of the Vanwood Variety Store. She remembered Lisa (and Kuma) from our previous trip to Tonopah.

Vanwood Variety Store

The store is across the street from the Mizpah and on the direct walking path from the Mizpah to the Tonopah Convention Center (where the people crossing Main Street here are going). The store sells an eclectic variety of clothing and other items. Lisa bought a new pullover, and I got some honey lip balm, which I need because here at 6000 feet, I start drying out faster.

I didn't take a picture of it, but the store also has anime figurines, adult coloring books, and other bits and pieces that fans might appreciate. In fact, we may come back if she's open Memorial Day and get some of the more entertaining items as stuff for the Tonopah table and maybe as prizes for Match Game SF.

After stashing our purchases from Vanwood in the minivan, it was on to the craft fair at the Tonopah Convention Center.


Lisa here is talking with one of the volunteers from the local senior center, who were selling popcorn and other snacks near the entrance to the fair.

Craft Fair at Tonopah Convention Center

For our Westercon, this area is likely to have programming in the lower circle, with hospitality functions on the upper level.

Craft Fair at Tonopah Convention Center

The long bar is visible in the back. We expect to use that for serving some of the stuff for hospitality, and for fan groups to host their own parties in the upper level area.

Tonopah Convention Center Service Window

The rental on the convention center comes with 150 free cups of coffee per day, and in this case you can see the serving area from the TCC kitchen, which also is included in our rental. We plan to let fan groups hosting hospitality functions use this kitchen.

Buckboard Room at Tonopah Convention Center

The rear upper level, known as the "Buckboard Room", is where we expect to have a small dealers' room. Our current plan would have the area with these chairs have dealers tables. We'll need to do some figuring about whether we can get the number of tables we want into this area.

Craft Fair at Tonopah Convention Center

We think fan tables can go in this area.

Tonopah Convention Center Accessible Restrooms

Tonopah Convention Center Accessible Restroom

There is one set of wheelchair-accessible restrooms in the convention center, newly remodeled. There is a larger set of restrooms that has also been remodeled but that doesn't have wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and a pair of single-occupancy non-wheelchair-accessible restrooms off the convention center lobby. How we make this all work out, including accommodating gender-neutral restrooms, hasn't yet been determined, but we think it's doable by resigning some restrooms.

Tonopah Convention Center Grill

I got some more pictures of the barbecue area built into the Convention Center. The radio towers in the right distance are of the local fire/paramedic/EMS station. Because this has come up in some of the concerns about the relative isolation of Tonopah, I walked it off and found that it is 330 of my steps from the front door of the Convention Center to the fire station. I also did a comparative search on Google Maps and found that the distance between the two buildings is about the same as the distance from one end of the San Jose Convention Center to the other, meaning that if you attended Worldcon 76, you were actually father away from the nearest paramedic/EMS than you will be at an event at the Tonopah Convention Center.

TCC to the Library

Looking the other way down the same street, you can see in the distance the Old Tonopah Library, whose lounge (handicapped accessible) we have been offered for author readings and the like. Again, the distances are comparable to trooping around the San Jose Convention Center, with the difference being that you're not inside an aircraft hanger.

For dinner, we went down to the Stage Stop Cafe at the Tonopah Station.

Kuma at the Station

Kuma Bear sat around waiting for Lisa to finish using the restrooms located in the laundromat on the Tonopah Station ground floor through the doorway to his left.

Stage Stop Cafe

The Tonopah Station is very photogenic.

Stage Stop Dining Room

I asked about this room and they told me that groups of 10-20 can book it. So if you come to Westercon and get the idea of getting a large dinner party together, there's a room at the Tonopah Station's Stage Stop Cafe you can reserve.

After dinner, it was back to the Mizpah, where things were hectic.

Longshot Bar at the Mizpah

The Longshot Bar on the ground floor was full of people as a country-western group was playing that evening. A high school reunion was using the Jack Dempsey room on the lower level. The restaurant was full of people, so it was probably just as well that we had dinner at the Tonopah Station (which was itself busy, but not overloaded).

Inside the Mizpah Vault

We realized when we were displaying other Mizpah photos that we'd never shown what was beyond the bank vault doors. It's a bunch of historical displays.

By this time, Lisa and I were worn out. We retreated to the hotel room and I spent about three hours tagging and labeling photos and trying to get some of them posted. I'll be posting stuff to the Tonopah bid's Facebook page (including many of these photos) for days.

We've been having a good time, enjoying ourselves and proving to our satisfaction that Tonopah can hold a big town-wide event. Now I hope we can show the rest of the fans who will be making the decision in Utah in a few weeks that this is the case.
Tags: tonopah, westercon

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