Balticon 54 Virtual
Balticon 54 was to have been held May 22-25, 2020 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, in Baltimore, MD, with GoHs will be Wen Spencer, Lee Moyer, Cheshire Moon, Jay & Leigh Targaryen and R. F. Kuang who was the 2019 Compton Crook Award winner.
When the Covid-19 epidemic hit, forcing the cancellation of all gatherings over 10 people in Maryland, BSFS the Non-Profit organization that runs Balticon decided to try and go virtual, to take place over the Memorial Day weekend May 22-25, 2020.
They started by offering everyone who had already registered for Balticon 54 the option to get a refund, roll over to the next year, or convert it into a tax deductible donation to BSFS. Then the Department heads and the Con Chair sat down in virtual meetings and figured out how to move a 1500-2500 person 22 track convention online in 68 days. Programming centering around Zoom Webinars and streams to Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook Live. Gaming on Zoom Meetings and the BSFS discord Server, and social events/time in facebook group and discord server. Training for Techs and Panelist started before all the details were completed, and 100+ Panelist were run through a training on zoom 20+ Techs on Zoom, OBS, Xsplit Broadcaster, and Discord. Schedules as they were created went to Balticon.org. All of the Guest of honor were glad to attend virtually, and Virtual Balticon 54 was born.
People of note in pulling this all together were the Con Chair Michael Rafferty, Head of Programming Lisa Adler-Golden, Assistant Head of Programming Rodger Burns, Tech Director Samuel Kopel, Assistant Tech Director Robert Markowitz, Logistics and Training head Matthew Shogren and Social Media Coordinator Morgan Hazelwood among many others.
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