Frequently Asked Questions
Date, Hours, Location
Date: May 27-30, 2022 (Memorial Day weekend)
Location: Renaissance Baltimore Hotel, 202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
Hours: Friday, 3pm to Monday, 5pm
|Registration opens||Friday, 1pm|
|Opening Ceremonies||Friday, 7pm|
|Short Film Festival||Sunday, 7:30pm|
|Art Auction||Monday, 2pm|
|Balticon 56 ends||Monday, 5pm|
Am I registered?
You can check if you’re registered here.
How do I get my badge?
All badges will be at Balticon Registration, on the 5th floor of the hotel, in the Maryland Foyer. When you arrive at the hotel, take the elevators or stairs up to the 5th floor, then follow the signs. We are NOT in the same location as Hotel Registration.
When is the Registration table open?
Friday: 1pm – 10pm
Saturday: 8:45am – 7pm
Sunday: 8:45am – 5pm
Monday:10am – 1:30pm
Which line do I stand in?
For pickup of ALL badge types, start at the Check-in line. If you are not pre-registered and are purchasing your badge at the door, you will then head to the Cashier to finish payment. If you are pre-registering for next year and have ALREADY picked up your badge, you can go straight to the Cashier line.
What payment methods do you accept?
For online registration, we accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. You can also pay by check or money order through our mail-in registration. At the door, we accept cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.
Are there any discounts available?
Yes! We now have a Young Adult category, for our members ages 13-25, as well as our Child membership for ages 6-12. As always, children under 6 are free! All children must be accompanied at all times by an adult. Active Duty Military and their family can receive $20 ($10 for Young Adult, $7 for Child) off any membership at the door with valid ID.
What about one-day memberships?
Our early registration pricing is a really great deal if you might want to stay a second day, and a full-weekend membership is cheaper than two single days combined. However, if you really only have one day available, one-day memberships are available for purchase at the door, as well as upgrades from one-day to full-weekend.
What if I’m attending with young children?
Children 6-12 are at a discounted price, and children under 6 are free. We now provide registration for Kid-in-Tow badges along with your online registration, or they can be added at the door. When you arrive, we will provide a wristband with your phone number for your child to wear as well as their badge, since we understand that small children frequently remove their badges. Maryland state law requires that children under age 8 be accompanied by an adult at all times. We do not currently provide drop-off child care. However, we have a Children’s Programming track with activities for our youngest fans, and the convention space is very stroller-friendly.
Can I pick up my spouse/girlfriend/child’s membership as well as my own?
Maybe! If you prefer to send one member of your family to Registration to help reduce crowds, please bring ID and proof of vaccination for all memberships, and we would be happy to assist you. Please double check badge names with the rest of your party before arriving.
Do I have to use my real name?
Only in our database. Your badge name can say whatever you want! We use ID to match up the registration with the person who purchased the badge, so the name on your registration does need to match some form of ID that you carry.
Do I have to show ID?
Yes. Due to our COVID policy, we ask that you provide a form of identification that matches the name on your registration and your vaccination record. We are very reasonable about what we consider valid ID. If you have any questions, feel free to email email@example.com ahead of time.
What happens to my email address if I give it to you?
We will email you a copy of your receipt, if you register online. We may use it to contact you individually if we need to (i.e. we found something with your name on it in our Lost & Found, you purchased a piece of artwork, there’s a question about your registration, etc). We are hoping to send out an informative email just before the convention to remind you about parking and where to pick up your badge, but we NEVER share your information without your explicit permission.
What happens to my phone number if I give it to you?
We may use it to contact you individually if we need to (i.e. we found something with your name on it in our Lost & Found, you purchased a piece of artwork, there’s a question about your registration, etc). We NEVER share your information without your explicit permission.
How do I access the virtual programming?
Virtual access instructions will be emailed to members a week or so before the convention.
What should I do if I test positive?
If you test positive at the convention and need to quarantine during the time of the convention, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will help in any way we can. We ask that you do not come to the convention with a plan of quarantining in the hotel.
If you test positive for COVID immediately after attending Balticon 56, please notify us at email@example.com to facilitate contact tracing. Your name and personally identifiable information will be kept private, unless you give us permission to share it.
Where can I get a COVID test?
Please refer to the Baltimore City Department of Health to find available testing sites. Balticon will have a very limited supply of antigen rapid tests available for purchase.
Which vaccines are acceptable?
Any vaccine authorized in the country in which the vaccine was received, including authorization for emergency use, for human use as a COVID vaccine, is acceptable. The World Health Organization maintains information on the status of vaccine trials and approvals.
I was a participant in a trial for a new vaccine. Is this acceptable?
Please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can evaluate your situation on a case-by-case basis.
What does “fully vaccinated’ mean?
“Fully vaccinated” means you must have received all required COVID vaccination doses no later than 14 days prior to the day you arrive at Balticon 56 to allow them to reach full efficacy. For people arriving on Friday, May 27th, that would be May 13th. The date of vaccination will be confirmed as part of the registration check-in.
Do I need a booster shot?
A booster shot is not a requirement for entry at this time. We are aware that some countries advise booster shots for some individuals. This is an evolving health policy area.
In the US the CDC currently recommends booster shots to everyone 12 and older. Booster shots can be received five months after completing a two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
What forms of proof of vaccination are accepted?
We will accept original vaccination cards, digital or physical photographs or photocopies of vaccination cards, or electronic documentation provided by your country or state of origin, including print-outs of such documentation. This documentation should be provided in person at the Registration desk on site.
If you are concerned about the acceptability of your particular form of documentation (for example, your documentation is not in English and may not be understood by Balticon 56 staff), we encourage you to contact us in advance at email@example.com.
What if the name on my ID and the name on my vaccination card don’t match?
We know that there are many real reasons that a mismatch may occur, including trans and nonbinary people, as well as others who may have changed their names. We are happy to accommodate people in this situation on a case by case basis. Simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Name Mismatch [registration name] and outline your specific situation so that our staff can work with you ahead of time.
I can’t be vaccinated for a medical reason. What should I do?
At this time, Balticon 56 requires all members to be vaccinated without exception. We encourage you to consult with medical professionals about whether any of the available vaccines could work for you. If vaccination is not possible for you, we invite those who cannot be vaccinated to attend virtually. Refunds to Virtual are available with no questions asked. If you need a refund for your membership, please contact email@example.com. If you prefer to roll over your membership to Balticon 57 rather than attending virtually, that is available with no questions asked until April 30.
My children are not eligible to be vaccinated due to age. What should I do?
Balticon 56 requires all members to be vaccinated without exception. At the time of writing, vaccinations have been approved in the US for children 5 and older, however as with all vaccination rollouts this situation is not globally equal. Those children who have received the full course of vaccinations (as above) are eligible to attend the convention.
We will continue to allow no-questions-asked full refunds for children’s memberships until April 30. Associated adults, including parents and older siblings, may receive a no-questions-asked refund to Virtual.
Will there be children’s programming?
Yes. We are planning in-person programming for children ages 5-12.
What counts as a mask?
A mask should completely cover your nose and mouth with material that can effectively filter droplets and aerosolized particles. It should fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps. Nose wires are recommended to improve fit, and multiple layers are generally more effective. Face shields are not an acceptable alternative to masks, although they can be worn in addition to masks if you desire. For more information on masking, please visit the CDC Guide to Masks.
The following items are NOT acceptable substitutions: Masks with direct exhaust valves, face shields without a mask underneath, gaiters, or open weave fabrics such as loose knits or lace.
Balticon 56 strongly advises N-95, KN-95, or KF-94 masks. When not available, wearing two layers of masks is recommended.
I can’t wear a mask for a medical reason. What should I do?
Balticon 56 requires all members to wear masks in convention spaces without exception, except while actively eating or drinking. We encourage you to work with your medical professionals to try and find a style of masks that works for you before the convention. If you need a refund for your membership, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Refunds to Virtual are available with no questions asked until April 30.
I’m hard of hearing or Deaf, and masks impede my ability to understand people. What should I do?
Balticon 56 will be providing clear masks to all presenters and front-line staff to facilitate communication.
Will there be exceptions to the mask policy for musicians or performers?
We are aware of the level of difficulty that masks add for musicians and performers. One possible option is masks from the Broadway Relief Project, which were specially designed for singers and wind players. Experience suggests it may be somewhat easier to sing through an N95 or KN95 mask as they provide a small space in front of your mouth, versus a cloth or surgical mask.
Where can I remove my mask to eat at the con?
There will be designated public areas in the hotel where you can remove your mask to eat and drink. While eating you must be seated at a table, you may not walk and eat. We recommend that people do not spend more than 30 minutes eating in order to allow others an opportunity to use this space.
I’m thirsty and I’m not in a designated area, what should I do?
You can take your mask down briefly in any area of the convention to take a drink, ideally from a resealable container. Carrying a beverage is not a reason to have your mask off, nor is continually taking sips of liquid over a prolonged period of time.
I saw some Dealers/Fan Table staff eating, why are they allowed to have their masks off?
While we are encouraging Dealers, Artists’ Alley, and Fan Table staff to eat in designated spaces, we understand that they may not be able to find cover for their table. They are permitted to eat at their table but must remask if approached by other attendees. Other attendees are not allowed to eat or drink in these areas.
Can I eat or drink at a room party?
While eating and drinking is permitted inside private hotel rooms and private suites that are hosting parties, we would strongly encourage people to keep their masks on as much as possible. If you leave the party room or suite you must be masked.
Lexicon (Or: What are these people saying?)
Badge Name – The name listed on your badge. It can be your legal name or a nickname.
Berzerker – Another name for Volunteers.
Bid – Refers to a Worldcon (or NasFic) bid. This is a group of people who are trying to get a Worldcon held in their city. They frequently will hold parties at regional conventions to gain interest in their bid. For more information, see Worldcon Bids.
Concom – The convention planning committee. Typically, 100% volunteer-run.
Con Suite/Consuite – A lounge for all those associated with the con, with social space and free snacks.
Cosplay – The practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game.
Digital Content (or Digital Content Creators) – These are your podcasters, your twitch-streamers, your bloggers, and your webcomic artists. It’s what used to be called “New Media”. It’s not new anymore.
Fan (plural: fans or fen) – People who enjoy talking about the things they’re fans of. Often related to speculative fiction
Fanac – Fannish activity, such as conventions (attending and running), costuming, filking, fanzines, podcasts
Fancyclopedia – An encyclopedia of Fan related topics and further information on fannish jargon. More information at Fancyclopedia
Fandom – The community of people who love to hang out and talk about the things they’re fans of – predominately related to speculative fiction.
Fanfiction – Stories written by fans using characters and settings covered by someone else’s copyright – from Dante’s Inferno (Biblical Fanfic) to stories about Spock dating Doctor Who. Usually written for fun and legally unable to be sold for profit.
FIAWOL – Fandom Is A Way Of Life
Filk – Originally a ‘folk music’ typo, now adopted to any sort of music about geeky topics, be they parody songs or originals. Open filking is a gathering of filkers (and listeners) that lets each attendee, in a round-robin fashion, choose to: a – Pick (a song to sing/to be sung), b – Play (their own instrument), or c – Pass (choice moves on to the next attendee)
GAFIA/GAFIAte – “Getting Away From It All” – Originally coined to refer to leaving one’s regular life to participate in fannish activity (fanac), current usage is the oppose. To gafiate is to abandon heavy involvement in fanac usually due to the pressures of real life. See FIAWOL.
Green Room – A lounge with snacks, restricted to the Guests of Honor and other panelists. If you are not a Guest of Honor or panelist, you’re still welcome in the Con Suite.
GoH – Pronounced “Go”, refers to the Guests of Honor. These are the invited featured guests, as opposed to the rest of the panelists who are mostly volunteers.
Gopher/Gofer – Another name for a Volunteer – particularly ones who run and fetch.
Hall Costume – Dressing up in a costume and walking around the convention. Can choose to enter a contest – typically by having your photo taken and other convention attendees who wander by voting for you.
Hugo Awards – Widely considered the premier award in science fiction, the Hugos are an annual literary award for the best science fiction or fantasy works and related achievements of the previous year, given at WorldCon and chosen by its members.
Kaffeeklatsch – An intimate coffee hour with a selected guest. Typically, one must sign up to attend and the first 10 people get slots. See also: Salon, Literary Beer
LARP – Live-action role-playing. A moderated improv game, where people are given sheets detailing the character they’re playing and that character’s goals, then the players must negotiate (using words or faux-fighting) with the other players to accomplish their goals. A collaborative storytelling game.
Literary Beer – An intimate happy hour with a selected guest. Typically, one must sign up to attend and the first 10 people get slots. See also: Kaffeeklatsch, Salon
Masquerade – A costume presentation and competition.
Members – At fan-run conventions, one is typically a member of the convention, not just an ‘attendee’ or ‘ticket holder’. You are now one of us.
NasFic – The North American Science Fiction Convention, is a science fiction convention scheduled only during years when the Worldcon is being held outside the North American continent.
Panel – A group of 3-7 people having a discussion about a given topic in front of an audience. Typically with time for a question and answer session at the end.
Party Board – A board with flyers for all the open parties
Registration – Where you pick up your badge, a valid ID is required. (Memberships are available at the door, so you can pay there, too!)
Room Party – At literary fan-run conventions, there is often a “Party Floor” with registered open parties posted on the ‘Party Board’ open to all convention-goers (age restrictions may apply). Typically run by other conventions, bid-parties, or science-fiction and fantasy clubs
RPG – A role-playing game of any sort. Where the player is given a setting, story, and plot and is able to make choices to progress the story.
Salon – An intimate discussion hour with a selected guest (no coffee). Typically, one must sign up to attend and the first 10 people get slots. See also: Kaffeeklatsch, Literary Beer
SMOF – Secret Masters of Fandom, a not-so-secret nickname for many of those who help run fan events such as this one
Speculative fiction – The umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Staff – The volunteers who typically spend more time staffing the convention than attending it. (20+ hours of volunteer time). Staff at Balticon are NOT paid.
Supporting Members – A term for non-attending members of WorldCon, who get voting rights.
TTRPG – Table Top Role Playing Game. Collaborative storytelling, usually with rules manuals and dice rolled to imitate chance. Typically with a “Storyteller”, “Game Master”, or “Dungeon Master” presenting events, situations, and enemies for the rest of the players to improv their interactions with.
Worldcon – More formally, the World Science Fiction Convention, is the annual science fiction convention of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). Members vote to select the site of the Worldcon two years later, and to select the winners of the annual Hugo Awards. WorldCon 2022 is also known as ChiCon8 and will be in Chicago, IL. WorldCon 2023 will be in Chengdu, China.