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A bid party is an open convention room party sponsored by fans who are bidding for the right to host a future traveling convention. The idea is to promote goodwill (and possibly secure votes) as well as raise funds for their bid by selling pre-supporting memberships.
They frequently have themes in decor and refreshments, usually related to the locale. Typically, they hand out custom stickers for visitors to affix to their badges.
You'll find them frequently at Worldcons, often years in advance of the actual voting, as well as at other regional and local conventions under the assumption that the attendees of these smaller conventions might also attend the Worldcon to cast their ballots. But also see Minneapolis in '73.
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