Pre PAX Dinner
|Pre PAX Dinner|
|Location||Unknown for East 2013|
The Pre-PAX Dinner is a community event generally held the Thursday prior to the opening of PAX. Currently, the Pre-PAX Dinner exists in two forms, one for both PAX Prime and PAX East.
The Early Years
The Pre-PAX Dinner is a community-driven dinner created in 2006 by Penny Arcade Forum users Astayonix and Electric Turtle with the venue being voted on by the Forumers themselves. The first Pre-PAX Dinner was held at the Bellevue, WA Las Margaritas with over 100 attendees participating.
In 2007, Astayonix and Electric Turtle continued to organize what would become the now annual Pre-PAX Dinner. Moving to Seattle's Westlake Center and dining at P.F. Changs Chinese Bistro, the dinner saw growth just as PAX itself did. Unlike the year previous, the restaurant could not hold the amount of dinner participants and with well over 150 signing up, a system of 'waves' was designed to bring in smaller groups of diners at staggerd times throughout the evening. While the event was successful and the amount of people was handled the best way possible, many participants (including the organizers themselves) were not 100% happy with the inability see, meet and converse with *all* the attendees. Astayonix and Electric Turtle immediately recognized the shortcomings and limitations of the previous Pre-PAX Dinners and in 2008, opted for a different approach.
2008 saw the event move from a standard restaurant to the Naval Reserve Building in downtown Seattle. This new venue would allow for exponential growth in how many attendees could participate. With near 200 people participating, the dinner reached it's highest participation level yet. Utilizing a buffet-style dinner and the extra space, Astayonix and Electric Turtle were easily able to resolve the previous years issues. 2008 was a stand-out year as the organizers were able to garner themselves a keynote speaker in the form of Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor. Along with Mr. Taylor, Valve's own Kim Swift and numerous members of the BioWare development team were also in attendance. Also of note, 2008 saw a wonderful donation in the form of 5 large pans of food handed over to the Harrington House (a shelter for battered woman and their children) by Astayonix and Electric Turtle.
2009 would mark a large change for the Pre-PAX Dinner as it would be the last time Astayonix and Electric Turtle would be the organizers. It was decided that while the previous years keynote was a fantastic event, it seemed to take time away from what the Pre-PAX Dinner was really about, meeting people and being social with fellow PAXers. Once again held at the Naval Reserve Building, 2009 saw the Skillet Streetfood Mobile Caterer tapped to provide the dinner options. Unfortunately, this would be both a blessing and a curse. While general consensus was that the food was delicious, Skillet Streetfood was unprepared for the barrage they would receive and numerous attendees did not get the meal they had intended upon. While the dinner was, once again, a general success, Skillet Streetfood had to be taken to task by the organizers. Refunds were made available to those who were unable to get what they wanted in the form of either a Skillet Streetfood Voucher, a $5 donation to Child's Play Charity or a $5 refund directly to their credit card.
Prime 2010 saw the reins of the Pre-PAX Dinner handed over to Penny Arcade Forumer beta_angel. Enlisting the help of users metaverseNomad and eye-shuh, the Pre-PAX Dinner would continue to be an annual tradition. Moving from Naval Reserve Building to the DAR House on Capitol Hill, the Pre-PAX Dinner would, for the first time since 2007, be truly limited in space as attendance was capped at 150. This marked the first year a DJ was employed to spin throughout the dinner. While generally considered a successful follow up, the size of the venue and lack of diversity in the menu (3 different types of lasagna as provided by Twelve Baskets Catering) were complaints heard by the organizers and taken into great consideration for 2011.
Prime 2011 saw beta_angel organize the dinner solely on his own. This would be the first year that dinner would be a 21+ only event, as it would be held at the Capitol Hill bar, Barca. It was a success.
Prime 2012 saw a return to Barca, but was this time organized by forumer TOGSolid.
East 2011 was initially organized by VisionOfClarity, but due to some last minute changes to her schedule, Rdr handled the at-PAX duties for the dinner. It was held at Dicks Last Resort in downtown Boston.
East 2013 appears to have a continuation in organization with acumen101 offering to host the PAX East 2013 dinner. Planning is still in the very early stages. The PAX Forum thread discussing the East 2013 dinner is located here.
Often the organizer for the Pre-PAX Dinner will need volunteers to help check people in, make sure everyone gets seated properly, and overall make sure things stay on track for timing during the evening
Signups have been handled the past few years via Eventbrite. Usually once all the organization is complete, there will be a post in the respective forum thread for the current dinner with registration information and sometimes early menu information. The target cost for the dinner is typically between $20-30, and can vary from year to year.