The Guide to IAGSDC Convention Chapters 16-17

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Meal & Bus Seating

This description shows how seating for these events had been done for many years. In 2018, Seattle broke the mold and had open seating for the banquet and brunch. Minneapolis in 2022 followed this lead but with a tweak. Banquet, brunch and Fun Badge Tour were all open seating but people could purchase a reserved table for the banquet & brunch if they wanted to be sure they could sit with their friends. Ottawa in 2023 continued this new tradition.

Sample seating chart

There are generally three events at each Convention featuring reserved seating: (1) a Saturday night Banquet; (2) a Sunday lunch / brunch / IAGSDC® General Meeting; and (3) the Fun Badge Tour.

Historically, most conventions have offered sign-up boards for these items. When you check in at Registration, ask where to sign up for banquet, lunch, and fun badge tour seating. You'll generally be directed to a series of large boards, each with a seating chart.

Some conventions may use a different method of seating selection; be sure to ask when you check in. For example, because their Fun Badge Tour was taking place on the first day, the 2013 San Francisco Convention used pre-assigned Fun Badge Tour seats.

Banquet & Lunch seating is usually reserved by table, and you're usually expected to locate your name on a sticker, and move the sticker to a specific table. This allows you to sit with specific friends or get a table at a specific location in advance.

Fun Badge Tour seating is usually arranged by bus. Usually, the fun badge tour has a theme, and each bus has a name, number, color, and/or specific assigned hosts or hostesses. If you're not able to sit with friends, don't worry – everyone dances together on a fun badge tour. The seating reservations are just for which bus you'll travel on (and usually which hosts or hostesses provide your travelogue.)

Although seating for these events is reserved, making the actual arrangements is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're going to be checking in late, and want to sit with friends at any of the special events, you may want to ask them to pick and post your name sticker along with theirs.

Yeah, but when do we start dancing ?

Most conventions (and some fly-ins) start off with something called a "trail's end" (sometimes called "trail-in") dance on the evening prior to the first full day of the event. This is usually held on a Thursday night.

2005 Trail's End Dance

This first dance marks "the end of the dusty trail" to Convention, and provides a chance for everyone to warm up before the main event starts the next day. (Thanks to Karl Jaeckel of Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus in Denver for pointing out the origins of the term "trail's end"!)

The "trail's end" dance and/or first few tips at a convention or fly-in can be frustrating if you're not prepared. Be aware that it's quite common for squares at a trail-in dance to break down.

If your "trail's end" square breaks down more than you're used to, don't panic. We promise that you haven't suddenly forgotten how to dance, though it may feel like it for a while. No, we're not laughing at you. Really. This is something every new dancer goes through.

Be aware when dancing at a trail-in dance that:

...many of the people attending conventions or fly-ins haven't danced in a while, and are rusty;'s a new hall and new sound system for everyone (including the callers!), with different acoustics than people are used to; matter who's calling, it's probably going to be someone different than most people's club caller.

These conditions create breakdowns for many people in many squares. Don't get discouraged. The dancing will get better as the event proceeds. Honest. We promise.

(Back to the Guide To IAGSDC Convention Table of Contents.) (Back to Guide Chapters 14-15.) (Forward to Guide Chapter 18.)