This list has been making the rounds among delegates and others who earned their tickets to the 2012 Democratic National Convention to officially nominate Barack Obama for a 2nd time. Full credit to its original creator, Texas DNC Member-Elect Glen Maxey, for whom this will be his 11th national convention (if you count one of the three mid-term conventions the Democratic Party held in the 70's and 80's). While Texan in focus, it's applicable to anyone going to Charlotte and makes an entertaining read for those seeking some insight as to what the experience is like.
- NO BIG HATS. Don't even think of wearing that big foam rubber Texas hat. You block the view of your fellow delegates seeing Obama and you'll be ostracized for life.
- Convention sessions usually start about 4 pm and go till about 10 pm. We do business before prime time speeches.
- FOOD BUDGET- There's a big free Delegation Meeting breakfast every morning where you get your daily credentials. You'll eat a hotdog or nachos for supper in the hall. There are after parties with food. Don't worry about a budget for lots of fancy meals, unless you are into fancy meals. You can make it on the free stuff if you need to do so.
- Dress nice, but comfortably. It's a basketball arena type situation, not a Church. There are so many people, nobody is ever going to see your tennis shoes.
- All you young folks, share at least four to a room. You are only going to shower, sleep three hours, and be up and at it again.
- There are literally a hundred things to do every day sponsored by candidates, officeholders, and organizations. If the invite says RSVP, and you think you might go, RSVP. It's better to be on a list at the door, than to try to get in if you didn't let them know.
- There are usually a limited number of Guest Passes each day. THERE ARE NOT A BUNCH, so don't tell your spouse or best friend they are guaranteed to get in the Hall. The usual situation is that each Delegate can put the name of a Guest in the hat each morning and we draw for the 10 or 15 guest passes the delegation has for the day. Because Obama's speech is in a football stadium, more folks get in on the final night. But nothing is guaranteed till you have a credential in your hand.
- If you think you'll save money staying some place other than our hotel or near the Convention hall, you'll regret it. We are not close to the Convention Center and you're going to have to come to the hotel to get your Credential every morning in person and then travel back into town. No, I cannot pick it up and bring it to you. There will be buses to take us to all events, so you won't need to worry about taxi money.
- Pack an empty bag. I nest a smaller suitcase in a larger one. You are going to fill a suitcase with gift bag stuff, posters, and crap that you want to bring home. Plan for how to bring that stuff back.
- Each night you will be handed a dozen different signs to wave. Most people want to bring them home. They are a hassle to carry around to the after party. So come to the convention with a wide, empty shoulder bag (like the bags you got at the State Convention). You can put your signs as you finish waving them in the bag under your seat and when we adjourn, you'll thank me for suggesting this.
To read the final five tips, click here.
- There are usually “no food or drink on the Convention floor” rules. That's why the canvas bag comes in handy for smuggling in nachos. And bringing a plastic empty water bottle through security makes for a handy way to take your soft drink you buy at the concession stand inside the hall to your seat (in that handy canvas bag, again).
- There are going to be fun or interesting things to do on Saturday and Sunday, so I'd suggest traveling into town on Saturday so you have all day Sunday to sight see and do the Charlotte pre convention stuff.
- I've not seen a seating chart, but seats in the back in the bleachers are the best. Pray we are not on the floor. If you sit down front or on the floor, you are mostly looking at the butts of camera guys standing in the aisles or have your view blocked by TV cameramen and their antennae. We'll have assigned seats meaning when you pick your seat on Tuesday, that's where you sit on Wednesday. When you pick it, make sure you don't have the California sign blocking your view of the podium. And if you try to sit next to the Texas sign so you can be on TV, you probably will have staffers standing in front of you all the time. So that ain't a great idea.
- You'll be going through metal detectors to get in the Hall. Dress accordingly.
- NO FRIGGIN' BIG HATS.
If you are a prior attendee and have tips, leave a comment below with the city and year of the convention(s) you attended!