Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eating Out: How to Stay Full at RainbowCon

Something not many people talk about is con food. A few cons have what is called a Hospitality Suite or ConSuite that is usually a room that has food available to congoers. Sometimes the food is free, sometimes it's not. Usually, said food is cheap, sugary, and carb-heavy. Think cheeseballs, wrinkled grapes, and candy. Not much to keep people going, and not very friendly to anyone who might not want to subsist solely on M&Ms and cookies for a weekend.

RainbowCon is unique. We have a Hospitality Suite that is free to all attendees. For 2015 and 2016, this suite will be located on the 9th floor of the hotel (exact room number will be provided in the programs). We don't just stock ours with candy and cookies and 2 liter soda bottles. For 2014, we provided cheese, lunch meats, cheeseballs, vegetables, fruit, pretzels, chips, dip, hummus, cookies, crackers, candy, and just about anything else we could think our attendees might like. We also provided hot coffee all day and had electric kettles for folks to use. We even provided a bevvy of drink options: water, diet soda, soda, flavored water, and juice.

These items were available from 10am until 10pm every day in 2014, and we will do the same for 2015. Attendees just need to hop the elevator up to the 9th floor, come into the Executive Suite, grab a plate, and chow down. This is one way to keep your belly and wallet full during RainbowCon.

Since RainbowCon is also located so close to Tampa International Airport, there are a slew of fast food options, too. The usual suspects are there: Boston Market, Wendy's, Burger King, McDonalds, Denny's, Cheesecake Factory, Westshore Plaza Mall's food court, etc. There are also some beautiful restaurants if you want to spend a little more money, as well as the WinnDixie Supermarket. All our hotel rooms at the hotel are provided with mini fridges, so attendees can stock up on items from the grocery store to help keep food costs down.

If attendees want to splurge, we can attest to the awesomeness of the Holiday Inn Westshore's resident restaurant. The food the hotel provides in their restaurant is outstanding. The prices are reasonable for a hotel restaurant, though if you want to keep the cost down, sit in the downstairs restaurant and don't order room service. ;)

But, your best bet for keeping your belly full and money in your pocket is to visit the Hospitality Suite throughout the day. Chat up the volunteers and organizers who will be staffing the room, relax on the sofa or in a chair, and enjoy your food!

RainbowCon is a four day QUILTBAG-centric event for anyone and everyone. If you love QUILTBAG fiction and media, then this is the place for you. You don't have identify as GLBTQ to attend! You just need to love and support the GLBTQ community. In 2015, we've expanded our programming to include not only content for writers and readers, but also anyone who loves QUILTBAG television, movies, comic books, educational, and fandom topics. We're an inclusive conference, and we want everyone to enjoy themselves. Check out our schedule to see all the fun we have in store for you!

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