Orobouros.net @ Ohayocon 2007
Now in its seventh year, Ohayocon seems to have found a niche at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Hotel. The hotel already offers a large amount of convention space, in addition to a fully fledged food court. The convention center can be accessed via an enclosed hallway from the back of the hotel's convention space. Though Ohayocon is still small enough to be held mostly in the hotel, the large center ballrooms offer plenty of space for the main events, and plenty of potential growth area. Wether or not it will ever happen, the GCCC almost rivals the size of the big east cost con, Otakon's Baltimore Convention Center. For now, though, Ohayocon is staying relatively small, though at the time Ohayocon started a convention of several thousand was fairly large. Despite some significant staff turnover, the convention seems to be fairly stable and should be expected to be around for a while.
The hotel facilities are on three levels, most of the convention being held on the main, middle floor. The upper floor held artist's alley and the main events room. Many of the artists were happy to have the queue of people positioned close to their tables. The bottom floor held game rooms and panels, but the dealer's room and most of the video rooms were on the middle level, which did end up packed at most times over the weekend. The most noticeable feature is the large atrium making up the entrance to the hotel's convention facilities. A very broad set of stairs leads from the lower level all the way up to the top level, with a slanted glass ceiling on top. With the wide-open space and only a few congestible areas, it became the de facto cosplay area. Though the rest of the convention area has very wide, accommodating hallways, this no doubt helped traffic flows.
The hotel rooms are fairly standard issue, but the convention area has a lot of draw. The aforementioned food court is perfect for convention attendees. Fairly cheap, fairly fast, and very accessible. A fancy bar on above the hotel lobby was always packed with people, too. And for those who were willing to venture out, food and entertainment options were not too far away, though there were no apparent supermarkets or general stores around. Parking was also very readily available at the hotel, and even fairly cheap -- at least by hotel standards. Cheaper parking was also available to those willing to hike a bit on Friday and Sunday.
The biggest event of the weekend was probably the smell greeting guests arriving on Thursday. Some sort of sewage line had been breached and the smell not only filled the lobby and convention space, but quickly rose up the stairwells and elevator shafts. Though it was repaired quickly, the hotel staff was still emptying air freshener by the can-full on every floor, resulting in a harsh chemical smell. Sunday was a bit of a pain for those driving, as well, as a fairly big snow storm hit the area. Such are the risks of having a convention at that time of year. Being the first weekend in the year also means a lot of people have just gotten though the high-travel times of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Despite this, Ohayocon manages to pull a number of non-local attendees.
Convention reports and photos: Orobouros.net
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