Friday, May 21, 2004 to Sunday, May 23, 2004
Douglas House & Cambie Lodge Bed and Breakfasts
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
And so the journey begins. Or continues.
Traveling far across the continent we are called by some
unheard, un-vocalized scream.
We come from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana,
California, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, Florida and even Mexico.
We stand ready for the amazements that lie before us.
Yet fear what we may discover there.
At this time and this place we have chosen to gather.
To find our way through the darkness to where others stand bathed in light.
To be with them, and in so doing, be together.
Laugh and cry together.
And part knowing we have found our kind.
We stand together, yet we all stand alone.
We are Quidam. Yet we are all Passionates.
It began with Cirque fan Jeff “sfogviper” Tolotti proposing, on the Cirque du
Soleil Yahoogroup, a gathering during Quidam's Vancouver, BC run. Seattle fan
Keith Johnson, who was already planning a gathering for his family, suggested
combining groups. This turned into a specific weekend when Cirque fans from across
the country would converge on Vancouver, Canada. Fascination! (the unofficial Cirque du
Soleil newsletter) publisher Ricky “Richasi” Russo brought the newsletters' sponsorship
to the endeavor, enthusiastically lending his support.
Jeff created a website to announce the weekend. It read in part:
- Who: Any Cirque du Soleil fan, as well as friends and family.
- What: A weekend of Cirque du Soleil fun and socializing with friends,
including a performance of the touring production Quidam.
- Where: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- When: Friday 21 May - Sunday 23 May 2004, including the Quidam show on Saturday 22
May at 8pm
- Why: After being gone for all of 2003, Quidam's only North American stops in
2004 are Vancouver and Calgary. Quidam is one of the finest theatrical productions
in the world. This is the perfect opportunity to see it again - or for the first
time - and have some fun as a group!
THE BED AND BREAKFASTS - Keith, who had previously organized group
trips from his home base of Seattle, WA to Orlando and Anaheim, had something
special in mind; two Bed and Breakfast lodges that he thought would be just perfect.
What if we all roomed together in the same facility? The
Douglas House and
cozy turn-of-the-century houses, were right next to each other in a quiet residential
neighborhood about a mile south of the Grand Chapiteau, very close to the cosmopolitan
downtown of Vancouver. The intimacy, character and charm of these two homes-turned-inns
and their closeness to the Cirque tent-grounds (not to mention reasonable rates and free
on-site parking) made them perfect choices!
With attendees making their own airfare arrangements (many flying into Seattle and
carpooling up), and also buying their own tickets to Quidam, having nearly everyone stay
together created a sense of community. It was also our combined numbers that lead Cirque
to take notice and contact us.
THE PROGRAM PACKETS - In addition to the special weekend we
experienced, we put together small packets of information and momentos as gifts for our
attendees. Each person received:
- A Program Book to keep as a momento, with articles and information,
- Two CD's chock full of rare music by Cirque and its musicians,
- A full-color name badge with lanyard,
- A spread of food and wine at our Friday “Cocktail Hour,”
- And all the planning, research and communication, both on-line and via phone and email,
necessary to make the trip happen and answer questions.
OUR SCHEDULE - What did we do during our weekend? Many folks planned small
trips throughout Vancouver to see that fabulous city or took in multiple performances of
Quidam. The “official” CirqueCon activities were detailed in a page from our Program Book:
- FRIDAY - MAY 21:
- 5:00pm-6:00pm - Douglas House B&B, Kitchen area
“WELCOME TO CIRQUECON 'COCKTAIL HOUR'”
We invite everyone who's in town (and not attending a show) to stop by our
headquarters Bed & Breakfast for a little "get to know you." We'll have a few
munchies and some Cirque Du Rose wine for consumption. We'll also have space
for you to show off your rarest Cirque collectible. We'll have older programs,
Cirque du Soleil wallpaper books, and other Cirque memorabilia you won't find elsewhere.
- SATURDAY - MAY 22:
- 1:30pm-approx. 3:30pm - Cirque du Soleil Quidam Backstage Entrance
"A SPECIAL WELCOME FROM CIRQUE DU SOLEIL"
A very special event for CirqueCon Vancouver members! A tour of the Quidam site,
and perhaps other things even we don't know about.
- 4:00-6:00pm - The Old Spaghetti Factory
"CIRQUECON VANCOUVER GROUP DINNER"
We'll have seats in the same area but probably not at one big table. We'll eat and
party and prepare for the show. After dinner folks are free to tour Gastown, return
to the Bed & Breakfast to dress for the show, or head straight to the tent to be
there when the gates open at 7:00pm.
- 7:00pm-11:00pm - Cirque du Soleil Quidam Entrance
"CIRQUE DU SOLEIL'S QUIDAM"
At some point while on the Cirque grounds we'll want to gather to take a group photo,
so bring your cameras (just don't use them inside!). After the show, don't leave the
tent! Cirque will have another exciting event for us at approx. 10:30pm - a special
post-show Question & Answer session with Cirque artists, including autographs and photos!
CONCLUSION - It was an incredible weekend for our 30 members, which spurred us on to
consider other trips. For more details on how CirqueCon was created, check
out this article. For a fun history of our trip, check out
this article. We also got a bit of
Our final numbers told the story. For CirqueCon Vancouver 2004 we had:
- 31 members total, all of whom attended Quidam,
- 11 rooms rented at the "Headquarters" Bed and Breakfast,
- 4 rooms rented by members at other places, for a total of
- 15 total hotel rooms, approximately 33 room nights.
Quite impressive for a first-time ad-hoc fan event!
CREDITS - The CirqueCon Vancouver 2004 Team (in alphabetical order):
- Ricky Russo: Special Events - Cirque du Soleil liaison.
- Jeff Tolotti: On-Line Instigator & Publications - Format & production of Program
Packet, Badge, and Gift CDs. Producer and compiler of CD #2.
- LouAnna Valentine: Socials - “Cocktail Hour” Organizer.
- Keith Johnson: Logistics - B&B, Restaurant, Member Contact. Producer and compiler of CD #1.
Special Thanks to:
- André Belanger and Genevieve Bastien of Cirque du Soleil for helping
to make the weekend so special.
- Leslie Lewington and Paul Findlay of the Bed & Breakfasts for so kindly
allowing us to book two of their properties.
- Our friends at The Old Spaghetti Factory.
- Susan Graham of Tourism Vancouver.
- Norwescon for the Program Book Bags.