This is going to be long, so we'll see how far I get. Here we go.
Once upon a time, as all good stories start, a bug was placed in the electronic ear of a Famous Writer. Said Famous Writer responded positively, as did his fans, and the stage was set for one of the strangest most magical weekends ever conceived in the autumnal driftless lands of Wisconsin.
After ages of communications betwixt all involved parties: real, imagined, pseudonymic, and authenticated, the date grew near. None knew what to expect - which, oddly, was to be expected of such a joining of the creator of this (and this and this) and the ownership of that (that, and that).
What it was all about tho, was Gods, and a Carousel. (an aside to anyone who did the Scavenger Hunt; did you know about that first link? It's a searchable online text of the novel "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman. Helped immensely with the creation of the Hunt. )
The House on the Rock put together a challenging schedule of events, food and drink offerings (from John Chapmen 'ne Johnny Appleseed's Applejack, to Shadow and Wednesday's Christmas Dinner, to Mabel's Pasties, to of course mead), and contests to win rides on the World's Largest Carousel, in the hopes that the events, the panels and the panelists would all come together, the wind would die down enough for them to put up their tent (which it did:
note on this: I think it is funny that one of the first tweets for this event was from the guys who set up the tent!)
.... anyway, hoping people would eat the food, drink the mead, (another notation: found out there are a lot of home brewers in this group-heard a lot of "mine is better"), do the Scavenger Hunt , and that the carousel would, well, survive.
The God's smiled upon the event.
Neil talked up the event on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Veronica Rueckert's Show" including giving away tickets to the event. I had the pleasure of meeting the lady who won, although I didn't hear the full tale of how she ended up winning them (except to know she had not heard of the event until the radio show on 10/22!)
Everyone. Was. Giddy.
That is the only way I can describe it. Granted, some of the people at the HoTR had fits of nervousness (as perhaps did people in the Gaiman entourage), but most all had to absorb and reflect the effervescent and ever-present grins of the guests. And, being on the HoTR side of things as I was, it was so affirming to have people excited as I went through their packets with them. You complimented the badges, you jumped up and down when I handed you the scavenger hunt, your eyes widened when I showed you the number of local businesses offering discounts. And, I felt as if I were putting two cherries on your ice cream sundae as I handed you your free copy of The Graveyard Book, (I can't take credit. That was thanks to Harper Collins).
After traveling the many miles that so many of you did, I guess I expected road weariness or perhaps jet lag? Instead, I was awarded with peaceful happiness and geeky excitement. Loved it.
The other thing - I don't know how you planned it, but as guests, you spaced yourselves out almost perfectly. I told numerous people that I personally have been involved with other conventions as a volunteer, and two things I never wanted to have anything to do with were scavenger hunts (more on that later) and registration. With this event, I was in co-charge of the scavenger hunt, and had to work registration most of Friday. We never were overwhelmed, and even as people appeared who we didn't have packets made up for, you graciously waited as I ran around searching files, checking emails and talking with people until I confirmed what I needed to give you your stuff. Thank you once again for your patience.
Also, you seemed to realize that I was living off of 2 hrs. of sleep and a bag of cheese curds (bought warm on Friday morning after just being made. My small contribution to the gift basket.)
Ok -- more later (including pictures and one of the most awesome moments of the weekend in the form of a guy riding the carousel). I mean, it's Halloween!!! In the mean time, you can read comments on the thread on Neil's Messageboard. Or check out the Panels which were streamed live!
Comments are still rolling in on Neil's FB page.