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VCFMW18 will be held SEPT 9-10, 2023 at the Waterford Banquet & Conference Center, Elmhurst, IL Show hours: Saturday 9am-10pm and Sunday 10am-4pm
The Vintage Computer Festival Midwest is a free and open exhibition of vintage, classic and retro computers, computing artifacts and a few telephones, too. The show is free to attendees and exhibitors alike and there are no tickets to purchase. VCFMW is supported by the generosity of the vintage computing community via donations, T-shirt sales and our fabulous VCFMW auction. There's no admission fee or pre-registration for attendance. Come check it out!
A convenient guide to the show that you can install on your phone?
Check out HackerTracker for Android and iOS!
The Clarion Inn attached to the Waterford Banquet Hall has been sold out for a long time now. Sorry about that.
We have arranged overflow room blocks at two nearby hotels. If you have any problems booking with these links, please call the hotels directly. VCFMW staff cannot help you book a hotel room. The most likely failure modes of the booking process are a) the room block is full, in which case the hotel should expand it with our OK (or not) or b) the dates you entered are outside the block and/or a specific date is full. In both cases, calling the hotel is the best remedy.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago - Oak Brook
1909 Spring Road
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
Cut-off Date: Thursday, August 17, 2023 at Midnight
Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Suites
10 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
Cut-off Date: Thursday, August 10, 2023 at Midnight
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We are currently placing an absoulte flood of exhibitor and vendor table requests. We're also thinking about how to do table registration differently next year (or just build our own convention center.)
If you would like to be placed on a stand-by list for a table(s), please fill out our stand-by registration form.
Please understand that, at this time, there is no guarantee you will be able to table at this year's show. Table availability will depend on either cancellations or a serious failure in our planning spreadsheet that leaves more tables open than we expected. In such a case, select registrants will be notified that their registration has been converted to a confirmed one. We may also contact you with an offer to table with a reduced space allocation. If you do not hear from us, we were unable to place you.
We appreciate you taking the time to submit a stand-by request, as this will also help us gauge interest for next year's show planning.
If you are a vendor and you aren't able to reserve a table:
* Feel free to set up outside (weather dependent of course). There may be one or two power connections in the courtyard (gazebo) area outside the main hall.
* We'll have a giant whiteboard in the front lobby where attendees can post their for-sale and wanted offers. Print something up and stick it on, or write on the board. This worked extremely well in 2022.
* Sell out of your car/truck/van in the parking lot (and post a sign inside.)
* Just show up and take your chances at finding a free spot from a no-show or early-leaver.
Note: It is very unlikely that showing up with an actual table will result in finding a spot to place it (unless it's outside.) We're squeezing every square foot out of this place.
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VCF Midwest 18 Schedule
The talks will be held downstairs this year...look for the signs!
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PLEASE SUPPORT THE SHOW!
VCF Midwest has always been a free show: free admission, free tables, free-form. Initially sponsored personally by the organizers, we moved to a donation model in 2015 for VCFMW 10. Since then we've maintained this tradition primarily through donations from the vintage computing community.
Thanks to COVID, inflation and who-knows-what-else, this year marked a significant increase in our venue costs. Here's how you can help:
- Donate directly via PayPal
- Participate in (or donate items to) our exciting fundraising auction, Saturday at 4PM.
- Visit the donation box when you're at the show. You'll find it near the T-shirts!
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VCFMW Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a VCF?
A: A vintage computer festival is a gathering of collectors, hobbyists and curious observers who enjoy tinkering with the computers of decades past. No one can agree upon what constitutes "vintage," but a general rule is anything made before 1990 - but of course there are exceptions for obscurity and novelty. You may find early home computers like the Commodore, Apple and Atari, as well as once inaccessible business and scientific systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars in their day. At VCF Midwest, we welcome a wide variety of exhibits, with emphasis on the creative and obscure.
Q: Is the show really free? Even if I'm selling a U-Haul full of hardware?
A: VCFMW and ECCC are made possible via the generosity of the local vintage computing community, our fabulous auction and your kind donations. It is a tradition we managed to maintain for nine years now - the spirit of a casual gathering of hobbyists and friends. Due to greatly increased costs, we are asking for monetary donations from the community as well - but there will still be no admission charged.
Q: I want to say "thanks" for organizing the event!
A: Helping to fund the show would be great! Otherwise, buy us pizza, donate to and bid in the auction, give us cool stuff, let us have first look at your U-Haul, etc.
Q: I really do have an entire truck full of things to sell and trade. Can you accomodate me?
A: We'll certainly try. In the past, we've fit large-scale vendors and late-comers in the hallways outside the main display area, which worked out well for them. As the date gets closer, we'll be crunching the numbers so everyone will have a spot. We'll do our best to fit you in.
Q: I'm selling/showing/want to buy a shirt early/want to meet everyone - when should I arrive?
A: Show staff arrive Thursday evening to secure the rooms and bug the hotel staff to let us in. Load-in may begin Friday morning when we get up and extend well into the evening, with a break for the traditional group dinner. If you can't make it Friday, setup is possible at show opening Saturday morning, but you will be at the mercy of the crowd!
Q: How much are the shirts? What sizes will you have?
A: Shirt prices are $25, all sizes. This year we have ordered varying quantities of sizes Small through 5XL. plus a handful of Youth and "Ladies" fit sizes as well. Some sizes sell out earlier than others - claim yours early!
Q: How many people attend the show?
A: Since we don't charge admission or otherwise track attendance, it is difficult to tell. Based on badges taken, shirt sales and educated guestimates, we figure that we've topped 1000 attendees in recent years.
Q: Do you have a map of the facility?
A: We're working on them! We'll publish a table chart closer to the show date.
Q: I plan on spending the entire weekend at the show. I need to eat! What's the deal with food?
A: The hotel houses a cafe-style restaurant with a limited menu.. The local area has a full array of fast-food outlets as well as world class Chicago eateries in the upscale Oakbrook Center shopping mall.
Q: Will there be Internet access at the show?
A: The Waterford building has wireless internet access throughout the hotel and show area. Coverage is good in all areas, however bandwidth is limited and there will be many devices active on the network. Internet access is provided as a courtesy to Clarion Inn guests and VCFMW has no control over the wireless network at the facility.
Q: How about a wired network? This is a vintage show!
A: We will be experimenting with our own wireless net for vintage machines only, which will be bridged to the Internet via the hotel's network. Ask us about it at the show to see if we ever got that done. Exhibitors may also bring their own wireless bridges to provide a hardware Ethernet port for their display.
Q: I want to display my classic computer/project/stuff for sale at VCFMW - how large are the tables? How many may I have?
A: Most tables are 30" deep and either 6' or 8' wide. There are also a number of 6'x18" deep tables which we will double up to make a full-depth table. We make do with what's on-hand and usually use every last table they can give us. Tables are apportioned on a first-emailed, first-allocated basis, with consideration given toward making sure we can welcome as many different exhibitors as possible. VCFMW staff reserve the right to reduce table allocation and move table assignments as they see fit (but we will certainly try our best not to!) If you have folding tables that aren't a pain to transport, you may want to bring them.
Q: I want to bring something BIG. How large an item can you fit?
A: This is one of the big upgrades from previous years. Where we were in a basement before, we are now on the main floor of the hotel and have a pair of large loading doors that open directly to the back parking lot. The show area is large but not cavernous; so as much as we'd like to have your IBM 370 on display, floor space is still finite. If you have a large display, think tall, not wide (we have 11' ceilings.) We'll know better what we can fit as the show gets closer. Email us with your ideas - there's always the hallway.
Q: How about power? My mainframe needs 50 amps of clean 3ph 208V!
A: We have yet to get accurate power specs for the Waterford facilties. The main display area has a number of 20-amp outlets but we do not know if they are on separate circuits or not. If you've got a power-hungry device, let us know and we'll see about making sure it finds its own circuit.
Q: What's this I hear about a FREE PILE?
A: One of the most honored traditions of ECCC (and now VCFMW!) is the Free Pile. This is where you can try to unload your unloadables, donate your donatables and maybe find the other half of the thing you found there last year. There is only one rule for the Free Pile: if you brought it and it's still there on Sunday afternoon, you take it away! Waterford/Clarion Inn staff do not want to haul your electronics scrap (and it's not in our contract.) Please help us get welcomed back next year and not upset our hosts! Oh yes, there's a second semi-rule for the Free Pile: no printers! It's not really a rule...but printers are really hard to give away. Just be prepared to take it back home with you.
Q: I want to help get the word out! What can I do?
A: Post about our show on your favorite (on-topic) mailing list, web forum, or newsgroup. We'll have a flyer sometime soon that you can pass out at user group meetings, coffee shops or wherever geeks hang out.
Last Update: 6/15/2023
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