Published January 27, 2011 06:51I'm very pleased to announce that we have signed a contract for the Strange Loop 2011 venue. This year's conference will be held at the Hilton Ballpark in downtown St. Louis and will run Sunday Sept. 18th through Tuesday Sept. 20th, 2011.
Sunday will most likely include optional workshops and the main conference will be held on Monday and Tuesday. There is a Cardinals-Mets baseball game Tuesday night, just one block from the hotel and we plan to get a big block of tickets for the game.
This is a big change from the last couple years where the conference was held in the Loop area and ran Thursday to Friday. I love the Loop area and it was a hard decision to move from there but we were really topping out what was available there in terms of growth and flexibility. The Hilton Ballpark was renovated recently and has a very nice conference center with great views of the Courthouse (historically important as the site of the Dred Scott decision), the Gateway Arch, and Busch Stadium.
The decision to move to the Hilton has a number of important benefits: plenty of space for a larger crowd and breakouts, integrated breakfast and lunch catering, wifi that should actually work :), all in a single location. I'm really excited about showing off downtown St. Louis and having close access to the Arch and other attractions for attendees.
The move to the beginning of the week and mid-September was also something we thought hard about but it was largely driven by scheduling and cost concerns as we tried to keep the conference costs down. Registration costs for the conference will go up some this year due to including meals but I think the final cost will still be very competitively priced. We'll make final decisions about registration costs in the next couple months.
I also want to mention that the Strange Loop core team has grown this year from just me to add four additional people and that will give us more bandwidth to turn the awesome up to 11. There has already been a shocking amount of work behind the scenes and it's been fantastic to have more people on board. The Strange Loop core team includes Alex Miller, Mario Aquino, Ryan Senior, Scott Delap, and Nick Cowan.
Most of the hard work done so far concerns the web site. Mario has been leading this effort to build a Rails 3 and Refinery CMS based site that will sustain us not just for this year, but also host our archive of information from 2009 and 2010 and future years as well. Jennifer Danker from Breo Media has been doing a beautiful job on the site design aspects. I can't wait till things are put together - the new site will be right here at http://thestrangeloop.com.
There are some other things afoot but nothing more I can announce right now. Save the date for Sept 18-20 and check back for more...