This is a bit late, as GaryConCrud felled me for a bit...
One should, nay must, begin any discussion of GaryCon with an appropriate demonstration of appreciation for all of the people that make it, still, the best convention and by far my favorite. Unfortunately, there is almost no way, with mere words, to do so. Regardless, I will endeavor to try.
First, thanks to Dale Leonard and Luke Gygax for all of the hassle they must put up with and all of the effort they expend to continue this tradition. I know they face many challenges each and every year, and every year by convention's end all of it is, to most that attend, clearly worth it. The future holds an abundance of opportunities and challenges, but I would, and have, placed my trust in them to navigate these sometimes-stormy waters.
Second, my thanks to all of the Gygax siblings and their families who allow us - really support us by their very presence - to honor their father. Grief is all too often a solitary thing. By allowing those of us who make the pilgrimage every March to congregate and share in the legacy their father left, that grief is turned into joy. Peruse the images from this convention posted across the Internet and witness the happiness. This is a living, breathing, smiling, laughing celebration of more than a life well-played; it is a legacy that reminds us that when we gather to play games, it isn't just about the games - it's about friends and family and laughter and joy.
Third, my thanks to the "Old Guard" - too many names to list them all. These folks continue to remind me, each and every year, that there is a heart and soul that goes beyond what Rule is in Paragraph 3 on Page 37 of Book 4 of Game System X. These men and women gave, and in many cases continue to give, of themselves to create and/or support hobbies that we enjoy - and we should thank them for it every time we see them.
Fourth, my great appreciation for those folks that give of themselves by running games and/or seminars, both on the grid and off. For me and my progeny, that would be:
- Rich Franks
- David Baity
- Jen Brinkman
- Guy Fullerton
- Bruce Heard
- Jim Wampler
- Edwin Stahlnecker
- Reid San Filippo
- Britainney Petrie
- Mike Reese
- Terry Kuntz
- Brendan LaSalle
- Michael Curtis
- James Smith
- Roy Snyder
- John Bobek
You all spent hours and hours and hours of your time to give myself and my kids hours and hours and hours of fun. I can't thank you enough.
Fifth, the unsung heroes of GaryCon - The Volunteers. All of you that do all of the things that make the convention run smoothly. From registration to passing out the judges' snacks to helping run the charity auction to a thousand and one other things I'm forgetting or never see - these are the things that make the convention happen. Without you, we all don't get to celebrate.