Early Plans for Pittsburgh Convention

Last look at Madison

Fresh on the heels of the Madison convention, the folks at Pittsburgh City Paper have already started preparing for next year’s convention in Pittsburgh June 4-7.

Andy Newman, editor of the City Paper, told the annual meeting in Madison that the 2003 convention will sprawl over the city taking advantage of the Three Rivers Arts Festival sponsored by the paper.

Already confirmed is a kick-off reception at the Andy Warhol Museum down the street from the Hilton Hotel, where the convention will be based, and a last-day outing at Kennywood Park, a local amusement park.

According to a tentative schedule of events from Traci Schneider, marketing director of Pittsburgh City Paper and AAN’s new board convention chair, the kick-off reception will include live music, a cash bar, free beer, food and access to the seven-story museum dedicated to Warhol, a Pittsburgh native.

The day at Kennywood Park would cost convention-goers who stay for the weekend an additional fee, but the “last-of-its-kind theme park” offers roller coasters, water rides, and a section for children.

The tentative schedule for the 26th annual AAN convention starts Wednesday, June 4, with a proposed golf outing that afternoon.

The next day, organizers want to shuttle different program tracks to ?unique and truly local restaurants? in various neighborhoods throughout the city, an “Eat with Your Own Kind Dinner.”

Friday’s entertainment may include a Three Rivers cruise aboard one of the Gateway Clipper Fleet paddleboats followed by a free Arts Festival concert at Point State Park.

Saturday morning, a shuttle bus trip to Pittsburgh’s Strip District is planned, where visitors can shop at local markets and sample Pittsburgh?s local flair and diversity.

With preparation for the 2003 convention just getting underway, final statistics from the Madison convention have been compiled by AAN’s Director of Operations and Special Projects Debra Silvestrin.

Seventy-nine AAN member papers participated in the 2002 convention, with total paid attendance of 346, not counting speakers, Isthmus staff and other unpaid participants.

“Total Homo sapien attendance: 427 (Two dogs at the fish fry),” Silvestrin concludes.

The AAN Convention Daily Newsletter can be downloaded here. Choose from Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

Ryan Fox is AAN’s summer intern.