Arisia 2005 there was a massive snowstorm. We were at the Park Plaza with two small kids and braved driving home before we ran out of diapers. Not the cleverest move, in retrospect, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I was working Ops Desk and got a phone call from Logistics requesting volunteers to help the 501st New England Garrison move of one of their larger constructed costumes, Jabba the Hutt. I told them I'd send people down if I got any.
A few minutes later, a lone volunteer wandered into Ops. "Hi," they said. "I just got done helping in an area and was wondering if there was anywhere else that needs help?"
"Yes," I said, with the best poker face I could manage. "Logistics needs help moving Jabba the Hutt from the loading dock." The volunteer looked at me, blinked, and shook their head not once but twice and looked at me again with a hint of suspicion.
"I'm completely serious," I said, failing to suppress a grin.
"Okay," said the volunteer, warily, and left the Operations room. Roughly an hour later, they returned to Ops with the largest smile I'd seen at the con so far. Lifting their arms up in exultant triumph they proclaimed, "JABBA THE HUTT HAS BEEN MOVED!"
"Well done," I said. And with that, the volunteer left Ops, still smiling and shaking their head once again.
When we get there I and some friends watch Reptilicus, a 1961 Danish monster film. It is shown using the 'Emergo' system which is similar in concept to IMAX. It's supposed to make the movie come to life and bring the audience closer to the film. This means they threw a 5 1/2 foot long plushy lizard at us during the film. It hit me in the head. I got to keep it. It made my day. There was then a dance, which I found particularly invigorating and left with sword and reptile.
January 1997. I was a homesick Californian, adrift in the snows of Boston. I knew no one. I decided to look online for local F&SF conventions and found that Arisia was that weekend. I reasoned that, "Fen are fen the world around." I walked into the hotel and immediately felt at home. I saw folks casually juggling and people in hall costumes. I heard conversations all around me on subjects I found familiar and plans being made on what panel to attend next. I felt at home. Thank you, Arisia.
Before Arisia I was always shy and felt I didn't really belong, but all the wonderful staff gave me a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn. I can't thank everyone enough! I love Arisia!
Arisia 2015 hosted the Post-Meridian Radio Players. They put on a gender-swapped stage production of the Star Trek episode "Space Seed". I ran into Liz Salazar after the show, who played Khan Noonien Singh. Shook my fist at her and yelled "Khan!" She laughed, and in character, said "Music to my ears."
We started doing this in the late '90s, and I used to try to ingratiate myself with whoever was running programming to protect it. Eventually I was told to stop worrying as it had become one of the most popular panels at the con. I love that we've not only dealt with turnover of panelists, but have inspired similar panels on TV, science, and other topics. I'm glad so many people enjoy it as it's become one of the highlights of the con for me.
I found out about Arisia from my high school in 2013; I entered into the Student Writing Contest & ended up winning 3rd place and got free memberships for myself & a guest for 2014. I brought my boyfriend, and we fell in love with the con. Since then we've attended every year, for every day. We hope to make Arisia a tradition between the two of us, & if we have kids of our own. Arisia was our very first convention; we have been avid convention goers ever since. Thanks, Arisia!
At Arisia 2002, I was a vendor, and so was my soon-to-be husband, but we had never met.
We were introduced and fell in love within the first hour or so. And, we've never gone a day without speaking to each other since that night. We married in early 2003, and are in the process of living 'happily ever after'.
Arisia was the first con I ever attended. I was nervous at first, but then I was blown away by how accepting and supportive everyone was, and I knew I'd be back. In the years since then, I've played my first tabletop RPG at Arisia, dressed in cosplay for the first time at Arisia, and bought my first top hat at Arisia. :-) Hooray for Arisia, a safe space for enjoying your firsts!