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.
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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