WordCamp Grand Rapids 2013 Announced

We’re excited to tell you that WordCamp Grand Rapids is returning for 2013! You can see all the details at http://2013.grandrapids.wordcamp.org

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WordCamp is Two Days Away, Here’s what you need to know!

Well hello there!

On behalf of the entire organization team, and all of our volunteers and speakers, I want to thank you in advance for coming to WordCamp Grand Rapids! (You did get your ticket, right?) As we draw near to WCGR I think it’s prudent to remind you what’s happening, how to find us, what you’ll need, and a quick note about social media.

We have the best sponsors…

Before I get into the event details, I really quickly want to personally thank all of our sponsors. This event literally couldn’t have happened without their generous support. So, when you get the chance, please help me thank Code Poet, Zippy Kid, Steelcase, Rocket Genius (creators of GravityForms), iThemes (creators of BackupBuddy and Builder), Connex Social, Vortala, WebDev Studios, Sticker Giant, OS Training, SoftwareGR and Mind Utopia. They’re responsible for some really great stuff, too (and I’m not saying that because they’re supporting the event, I really mean that. We went out and asked them to be sponsors because we thought what they do is so cool.)

What’s Happening:

  • On Saturday, from 8-5, we will have 28 sessions broken across 4 incredible tracks (schedule)
  • On Saturday, starting at 7:30pm, we have an awesome after party, and you’re invited! (where is this?)
  • On Sunday, from 10-4, we’re hosting WordPress Study Hall, which is an interactive way to put your new skills to work (what’s this?)

How To Find Us (and where to park):

As you probably know, the event takes place on GVSU’s Pew Campus, in DeVos Building E (Google map), starting in Loosemore Auditorium. You probably read that on the Location page.

What you didn’t already know is the parking situation. GVSU has a number of lots surrounding the building, and metered spots are free on the weekend, but I recommend parking in either the DeVos lot or the Fulton Street lot. Both are directly behind the DeVos buildings, are literally across the street from each other, and totally free and wide-open on weekends. We’ll have some signs near the parking lot and on the grounds to point you towards the right building. But, in case you miss them (or they blow away), here’s a very detailed map so you know which building you want relative to where you’re parking

If you’re driving in from the south, US-131 sucks a bit due to construction just outside of GR. It shouldn’t slow you down on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but it’s best to pad your time 10-15min just in case. As far as I know, the rest of the ways in and around town are totally clear. If you’re coming from the airport, it’ll be an approximately $20 cab ride to get you downtown (either to one of the hotels or directly to GVSU’s campus).

What You’ll Need:

  • A ticket? We’ll have a full record of everyone who has registered for the event, so if you forget your ticket we’ll have you covered. Still, it’s not a bad idea for you to have your ticket handy (either printed or on a portable device) just incase you trust technology as little as we sometimes do. Get one if you don’t have one.
  • A computer or tablet? That’s up to you. We’ll have free WiFi available, and there are outlets all around because it’s a college university. You’ll definitely want your own computer for the WordPress Study Hall on Sunday, though.
  • Lunch Money? Yes, we’re not providing lunch (but we’ll have coffee, juice, pop, tea and snacks and such on Saturday). You’ll also want dinner money, for that matter (but we will have appetizers at the after party). It’s Restaurant Week here in Grand Rapids, and there are a lot of really cool restaurants participating, check it out: http://restaurantweekgr.com.
  • Business cards? If that’s your preferred way of sharing contact information, definitely. If you have a really cool card, I (Brian) want to see it.
  • A good attitude? Definitely. Anyone coming with a bad attitude should probably stay home. You’re no fun to be around if you’re soured. We’ll do our best to put/keep you in a good mood, though. So, if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, this is a good place to start.

How about those social medias?

We’re on twitter! If that’s you’re thing, you should follow us: @WCGrandRapids. We’ll be tweeting throughout the weekend using the hashtag #wcgr, and you should too. It’s a great way to share what’s happening in the session you’re in, and a great way to follow along with sessions you can’t attend. We’ve also made a handy list of all our speakers and our sponsors.

Anything Else?

I think that covers everything for now. If you have any pressing questions you can reach out to us on twitter (@wcgrandrapids), via the contact form, or by dropping a comment below.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!

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What is WordPress Study Hall?

Well, casual visitor, I’m glad you asked!

On Sunday we’ll be hosting an event we’ve dubbed WordPress Study Hall. It combines the traditional “Dev Day” that follows most WordCamp events with more user- and attendee-focused opportunities as well.

In the morning we’ll have some of our speakers introduce those who are interested into three distinctly different topics: Contributing to WordPress core (actually building WordPress itself), Helping in the Community Support Forums (answering questions others have about WordPress that you now know the answer to), and Finding Your Inspiration (taking what you learned on Saturday to improve your own site, write a blog post, engage with your audience, etc). Throughout the afternoon we’ll focus on actually doing those activities. There will also be ample time for mini break-out sessions if attendees and speakers want to get together to talk about a particular topic.

The event kicks off Sunday at 10am, in the same building as Saturday. Oh, and your general admission WordCamp ticket gains you access to this, too!

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We Almost Sold Out, Added More Seats!

Look at that, we were almost out of tickets last night! We went ahead and added more and, as of right now, there are 75 fresh tickets available, and counting.

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Party Up!

SpeakEZ Lounge The event is approaching and we’d like to invite all of you to attend the after party!

We’ve worked with the SpeakEZ Lounge to set up a great get together for you all to unwind and mingle after a long day of presentations. This party will have a great selection of complimentary appetizers, and a lot of good people to meet.

The SpeakEZ is located north on Monroe Ave. about 1 mi from the convention center.  Nervous you won’t find it? Here are directions, so no excuses!

We’d love to see your shining face on Saturday night so come on down and have some great food on us. The party starts at 7:30pm with appetizers starting then! (Please note: you MUST bring your name badge for admission into the party.)

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Can’t make it, but still want to join in the fun?

We’ve heard from a number of people that they cannot make it to WCGR but are still very interested in the sessions. So, we’re considering setting up a livestream for one of the tracks, but, we’re only going to make this available if people actually want it.

So, if you’re interested and are willing to buy a $10 livestream ticket, please vote below on which track you’re most interested in seeing 🙂

Update: It looks like the majority of out-of-towners are interested in the Developer track, so that’s probably the one we’ll stream. If you want in, vote for it below. If you have a preferred streaming service drop that in the comments (right now we’re leaning towards Livestream.com)

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T-Shirt Deadline is Friday, Aug 10

Hey there, if you want a good looking WCGR T-Shirt that fits and makes you feel good about yourself, you’d better get your ticket before 5pm on Friday. That’s when we’re placing the order for all the FREE event shirts.

Don’t miss out on a shirt!

Register for WCGR

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Why Am I Excited? A first-timer’s perspective…

Why am I looking forward to WordCamp Grand Rapids 2012? Mostly because I can’t wait to meet fellow WordPressers in person. It’s fine to read the blog posts, listen to the podcasts, and view the websites that people produce, but there’s no substitute for talking in person.

We have some great people in the WordPress community, local to Grand Rapids and scattered across the globe. The speaker list alone includes several people I’m eager to catch up with or meet for the first time.

Topher DeRosia is a founder of our WordPress Grand Rapids meetup group, and he’s given me a lot of pointers about WordPress and freelancing. Dustin Hartzler’s Your Website Engineer podcast and the WPCandy podcasts produced by Ryan Imel and Justin Jones are among my favorite WordPress podcasts. Lisa Sabin-Wilson’s WordPress for Dummies books have been a great way for me to learn and teach my clients.

I’m also looking forward to meeting some of the other well-known members of the WordPress community, including John James Jacoby, Mark Jaquith, and Pippin Wiliamson. Of course, I want to meet and learn about all the other speakers as well. Plus, there’ll be all the attendees to talk to!

Why don’t you come to WordCamp Grand Rapids, so I can meet you too?

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Check out that beautiful schedule!

We have been working hard to bring you nothing but the best for WordCamp Grand Rapids 2012, and I think we have succeeded! Don’t take my word for it, though, check out the schedule yourself!

Hey, if you haven’t already gotten your ticket, act fast. We have less than 100 remaining!

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Check out our 28 Session Descriptions and Speaker Bios

WordCamp Grand Rapids is only TWO short weeks away, and we (your organizers) are very excited about it. We’ve done a lot of planning so far, and there is still much to be done (in fact, we could use your help, if you’re available).

That said, we’ve added in all twenty-eight of our speaker bios and session descriptions. We’ll have 4 tracks (User, Entrepreneur, Developer, Themer) and seven sessions per track. If you already bought your ticket, after reading through a few of those sessions I’ll bet you’re getting very excited too.

You did buy your ticket, didn’t you?

We’ll publish the official schedule soon. Stay tuned!

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