I wanted to do something different this year and provide a more personal viewpoint of MHC ’08 than I have in the past.
Our weekend started on Wednesday when we checked into the hotel. Being back at the Hyatt Regency was very nice as we were already familiar with the facility. After a day of meetings with the hotel and the convention center we were off to dinner with a lot of the people already in for the convention. Twenty five of us enjoyed a great Italian dinner and had a good time talking about all things haunted.
Thursday began at 11am with registration for the bus tour. I got to see lots of familiar faces for the first time in a year. The buses began leaving at 1pm for some great haunted attractions in Southwest Ohio – Ripper’s, St. Rita’s, The Dent Schoolhouse, and the Castle of Carnage. Thank you to all of them for opening off season for our group! I also need to thank the for helping run the tour, Karen Murphy shopping for and organizing the snacks, and Oak Island Productions for providing the adult beverages for each bus!
While the 220+ people were off enjoying the haunts I stayed back at the hotel to continue the prep work and entertain the rest of the vendors and guests that were rolling in. We were treated to some of Mother Nature’s scariest with a severe thunderstorm that settled over Columbus. Lightning, hail, horizontal rain, power outages, the works!
Friday began bright and early with workshop registrations. Several dozen people enjoyed the three all day workshops that were being offered. Thank you to the IAHA for conducting the CHAOS class, Tim and Anne Marie Gavinski and Leonard Pickel for the Getting Started class, and Bob and Beth Turner for the Haunter U acting class.
The CostumeFind.com vendor tradeshow was bustling with activity with the 80+ vendors setting up and testing props. Friday afternoon was the official opening of the convention with our welcome reception. Registration was hopping with several hundred people checking in before heading off to our Friday evening activities. Participants enjoyed the Scarefactory, The House of Nightmares, and Club Vampire at BoMA. Thank you to David Fauchman, Dave Treisch, and Scott Dowers for their hard work in this memorable event. Special thanks goes out to The Scarefactory, Midnight Syndicate, and Dental Distortions for sponsoring the tour.
Saturday was a blur of activity between the packed trade show floor and the equally busy HauntBots seminars. In the afternoon we had another edition of the Bloody Mary Monster Makeup Wars where five teams created hideous monsters in only 30 minutes. After the trade show closed I was off to the vendor coalition meeting where there was much discussion about the future of our industry and shows like MHC.
After the only meal of the day I rushed back to the Hyatt to find the Masquerade Party in full swing! I could not believe how many people were there and it was obvious that we exceeded the capacity of the room and its air conditioner. This has already been corrected for 2009! The activities that evening were fun and everyone seemed to enjoy them. From the Sophisticated Terror Body Art Fashion Show, to another Miss Scary Midwest title, to the costume contest, to the Hauntertainer Dancers, the evening seemed to fly by.
The 6am wakeup call came way too soon for me as I had to be at the trade show by 7. Not many vendors came in early to work and we went through five gallons of coffee in under an hour after the show opened. It was a testament to the fun that was had the night before. The Gag Studios auction kicked off another day of shopping and seminars before we finally closed the 5th annual MHC at 5pm. The vendors were out of the hall by 9 and I finally got to enjoy a relaxing evening talking to new and old friends in the bar.
On behalf of the other MHC organizers Kelly and Neena Collins, and my wife Kathy, I would like to thank all of you that were involved in this year’s show. From the volunteers, to the vendors, the attendees and the speakers, you are all awesome! I would also like to thank the sponsors I haven’t mentioned already: Costume Specialists, IAAPA, Wristband Resources, Efx-Tek, Mr. Skeleton, SBR Designs, Rotting Flesh Radio, Sinister Visions, and SOT Screen Printing.