This is even harder than talking about ticket sales – might as well tear the bandage off quickly and just get it over with.

ShmooCon 2022 is being postponed to March 24-26, 2022. (More about those dates below.)

Up until a few days ago we were still cautiously moving forward, getting ready to welcome all of you back in two weeks.  We had already (reluctantly) accepted that COVID is part of our new normal and that finding ways to host events safely in light of COVID is not going away anytime soon.  Unfortunately, caseloads continue to rise, it appears that the winter peak will fall right on top of the January con dates, and things just aren’t looking good.  After speaking with staff, some of our sponsors, and members of the community, I ultimately decided that the right thing to do is to push ShmooCon later into the year.

Last minute changes aren’t easy, and I apologize for any disruption this causes you.  I know there’s a lot of excitement in the community about conferences starting back up in person, and that many of you were looking forward to ShmooCon as an opportunity to get together again.  This was not a decision that was made lightly or without consideration for what would follow.  I was trying to stay hopeful and was optimistic that we could hold ShmooCon in our normal timeframe.  In the end though, I very much feel this is the right decision for the con, our team, and for my family. 

Deciding Factors:

  • Science and Numbers
    • Omicron is a beast, at least when it comes to transmissibility. The last 2 weeks have been striking in how fast it has moved through the country and it currently shows no sign of slowing down by our original January dates.
    • DC numbers in particular: Infection rates in DC are very high, some of the highest in the country.  Bringing people into the city right now just isn’t smart.
  • On a more Personal Level
    • ShmooCon Staff: I polled the staff late last week to see where everyone’s head was at.  Overwhelmingly, staff members were willing to step up and provide support either way.  I can’t tell you how much that kind of support means.  It drove home how much I care about our amazing team, the responsibility I feel toward them, and my desire to do right by everyone.
    • Staffing Levels:  Strictly looking at numbers, it is possible that some staff who are currently healthy will unfortunately become sick or be in isolation by the con and won’t be able to participate.  Staff getting sick = not enough staff = no con.  The same is also unfortunately a possibility for the hotel staff as well.
    • Responsibility to All Attendees: I feel personally responsible to everyone who attends or helps out with the event.  I am very sensitive to people feeling obligated to compromise their own personal risk thresholds or feeling compelled to attend because fomo is real.
    • My kids:  Two of my boys separately opined to me that I should push the con.  Dax, the youngest, made some especially poignant points.  I listened.

The New Dates:

  • Some of you may have noticed that the March 24-26 dates are Thursday/Friday/Saturday. Unfortunately this is the only viable option available to us at this time. We chose to keep our 3 day format over truncating our program. We hope you agree this was the best option as well.

So What Happens Now:

  • Tickets:  All issued tickets (barcodes) will be valid for the new dates.  If you have issues or concerns, we’re happy to assist you on a case-by-case basis.  Please be patient.
  • Hotel rooms:  Any rooms reserved on our block will automatically be canceled for the January dates. You should receive an email from the Hilton soon.  If you reserved a room outside our block, you will need to cancel/move that reservation on your own.  The new block for the March dates will be available soon.
  • Sponsors/Speakers:  We still hope you can join us (and you will receive a separate email shortly if you haven’t already).

The Unknowns:

  • There are many.  The bottom line is that we don’t know what the next few months will bring.  At the very least, we hope to be out of the high winter/holiday related caseloads we are seeing now.

The con and the con staff are ready to go.  Our entire house is pretty much “con ready.”  Swag, supplies, equipment… it’s all here and we’re in great shape to run the event.  We’re excited to see you and want nothing more than to bring everyone back together again – just in a better and safer environment.

Again, we wish things were different.  Truthfully, Bruce and I can’t wait to get up on that stage and finally welcome you back to ShmooCon, moose and all.  We will still do exactly that, just a bit later than expected.  Thank you for understanding and thank you for all of your support through the years.

– Heidi