July 9th and 10th I had the privilege to be in a few pictures, attend a few panels, and volunteer at the most recent incarnation of AFW. In addition to nerding out with friends old and new, I got the chance to sit in a few panels, and meet some people I admire a great deal. It was a great experience, and thanks to Dustin Draper and the folks at Dock 410, I will soon have some pretty cool pictures to remember the weekend with. I have been doing the convention/faire thing for a long time, from here to Texas, as a guest, a performer, and a volunteer, and I have to say that AFW was one of my favorite experiences. In no small part because of the heavy steampunk influence, I will admit, but steampunk has been a passion of mine since before I knew the word for it, reading Tick Tock and Tin Man of Oz, and Dungeons and Dragons Blackmoor (pre AD&D rules no less!), and other books and movies and animated features. I knew the con/faire culture was something I wanted to be a part of since I was thirteen and attending my first Great Plains Renessaince Festival (or whatever it was called back when it was at Kansas Newman and admission was only a dollar or two). I have been working to make it my profession ever since, although progress towards that goal slows to an almost complete stop from time to time.

I wanted to say thanks to Little Beard and Holly, for letting me volunteer and enjoy the weekend. Things have been a bit rough lately, and I wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise. And thanks to all of Wolf Moon and everyone who volunteered and worked hard on making it something I really, really enjoyed. It really was one of my favorite experiences.

While I am handing out those thanks, Dustin Draper and Mark and Taylor over at Dock 410 need one, for taking pictures of me. I hope I wasn’t too much of a pest, I tried to stay out-of-the-way and let others have as much or more of the spotlight as I.

Thanks also to Cedric Whittaker and the Airship Isabella crew, for taking the time to attend and host their panels, for being inspiring and supportive, and being some of the coolest people I have had the pleasure to talk to. I have admired you guys for a long time, and meeting most of you face to face for the first time, I was thrilled to find out you were far more than worthy of that admiration.

And also Airship Nox, whom I understand this event was the first panel you have hosted? I hope to sit in many more, it was entertaining, thought-provoking, informative, and inspiring. I was impressed. I look forward to seeing much, much more from you guys.

And last, but definitely not least, thanks to James Agin and Jeremiah Loder. I am acquainted with a lot of “big names” in steampunk, and even have the privilege to call a few friends. What you guys do with Great Plains Steampunk, our meetups, the photo shoots, the sense of community and friendship you promote, it puts you up right up there with the best of them. No, really. It does. You include and encourage everyone, no matter their preferences or limits, and no one is left out, or “doing it wrong.” Its a privilege to be a part of this group with you guys, and watching you work hard to keep everything moving, and organized, and fun. James, Jeremiah, I owe you guys a drink, and keep it up. You deserve to be recognized in far wider circles then you may be so far, because what you do, is truly what steampunk is really all about.

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