Every year they find a way to outdo themselves.
HOTEL: Ringberg Hotel in Suhl, in the former East Germany. It is a gorgeous hotel atop a mountain in the middle of the Thueringian Forest, and by that I mean a big frickin' mountain covered in dense pine growth, with a beautiful hotel perched at the very top. It can be seen for miles away -- that is, when it is not shrouded in clouds. It is well-appointed and the function space is perfect for a 400-person con. Er, of course, Eurofurence was a 600-person con this year. They have what I call Adams Mark Syndrome, which is when the chairman says "What a big hotel! We won't grow into this place for at least five years..."
STAFF: A perfectly-tuned machine. I cannot say enough good things about them. My greatest regret is that I neglected to tell any of them that I had to leave at 10 AM on Sunday (in about 20 minutes from this writing, in fact). They are all asleep and I am not about to wake them after the hard work they put in.
MUSIC: Guest Alexander James Adams has taken the mantel from retired musician Heather Alexander, and my god, does he wear it well! Lots of people play music; lots of people perform on stage. Alexander doesn't do either. He weaves a spell with the notes that come racing from his fiddle and draws the audience into a fantasy world, lets them linger there with him just for a while, then gently guides them back. His concert is a mesmerizing experience, with the same feral sensuality in the music that Heather made famous. When he taps his foot the entire mountain shakes, and I swear that you can see the things he sings about floating in the air around him. I cannot count the number of musical performances I have attended in my days -- some good, some not so good -- but Alexander is an experience. If you ever get the chance to see him perform, do not pass it up. And if you have the opportunity, forget the seats. Run down to the front and sit on the ground at his feet and listen from there. I can't explain why. Just do it.
PAWPET SHOW: OMGWTF. Every year I say, "Holy crap, how the hell are they going to top this next year?" And they do. This year...holy crap, how the hell are they going to top this near year? They made me laugh so hard my ribs hurt, and -- the bastards -- they made me cry. They made the whole damned audience cry. I didn't cry when my dog died! Guys, you rock. Bravo!!!
THE REST: I don't have enough time to list all of the highlights. Let's just say that everything was a highlight. I will certainly be back next year. Wild horses could not keep me away from this convention.
One more time: Bravo!