Update 2017-01-19: multiple reliable sources are indicating that the host hotel, Ramada Portland, is cancelling the convention’s reservation due to lack of communication with the organizer. I’m calling it: HOWL CON is off. I’m not going to edit the optimism out of this post, but if you booked flights or made other travel arrangements that you can’t cancel, maybe start looking at other things you want to do in the area.
I’ve been an enthusiastic proponent of Portland-area werewolf convention HOWL CON. I was a presenter in 2015 and had the time of my life. I wanted to go again in 2016, but through a combination of bad luck and disorganization, the event was cancelled three weeks before the big weekend.
Now HOWL CON 2017 is less than a month away, and once again the event has no announced guests, no programming schedule, and no buzz or recent organizer activity of any kind. It hasn’t been marketed anywhere other than two fan sites – my site, and PDXwerewolf.com. Its web site disappeared in May 2016. Contributors to its Indiegogo crowdfunding effort have not received any communications since the campaign ended in September.
It’s reasonable to assume that HOWL CON is still happening. In November, organizers were reassuring worried would-be attendees that the show would go on. Apparently the space has been paid for, or at least a deposit placed. If you dig through their Facebook page you can still find links to buy passes and submit applications to be a dealer or a presenter. You can even book a cheap hotel room. And if you do show up at the Ramada Portland Airport Hotel on February 4th or 5th, there might be other werewolf fans there.
I won’t be among them. Given the complete mystery surrounding “what the actual convention is, or will be, or will have for us to do”, I can’t justify the time off work, or the travel, food and lodging expenses. If you go, may my $150 “Attending Patron” pledge to the Indiegogo campaign help fund your enjoyment – especially if you’re going because you learned about the event from me. If we had plans to meet, please accept my apologies. Maybe we can catch up at West Coast Haunters.
I don’t know what’s happened with HOWL CON. The organizers have been running a steampunk convention with ostensible success for seven years now, so they’re not incompetent and they’re not crooks. Are they too busy to run two conventions per year? Are there extenuating circumstances? It doesn’t matter. It’s not okay to run an event this way, and I won’t give HOWL CON the benefit of the doubt any more.