In 5 weeks ventriloquists from around the world will be flying or driving to Erlanger, Kentucky for the International Ventriloquist ConVENTion.
Why Erlanger, Kentucky?
Because the Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum is just up the road in Fort Mitchell, KY. Founded by W.S. Berger, the museum houses ventriloquist figures, puppets, autographed photos and other ventriloquism memorabilia.
The conVENTion was set up as a fundraiser for the museum. Profits from the event help to “keep the lights on” as they say.
This year you will get to meet some of the true “workers” of ventriloquism. These are the gentlemen and ladies who make their livings as ventriloquists – but aren’t always a household name.
Todd Oliver described workers as the guys and gals in the trenches, putting in the hard work to bring the art to the public.
There are no accolades, there are no egos, there is just a love of the art that transcends all other desires to make people laugh using ventriloquism.
While the stars often get all the recognition and people flock for autographs, the workers are the ones who will sit down and answer questions. They are the ones who will take the time to teach you a technique over lunch or share stories of their travels and adventures during breaks.
This year you have a chance to meet Don Bryan from Canada. Taylor Mason will be with us to close the Saturday night show. Lynn Trefzger-Joy is a star in her own right and will also be at the conVENTion to teach and perform.
There are plenty of others, plus some newer faces of the art too.
The International Ventriloquist ConVENTion is the place to be this July if you want to learn, if you want to network and if you want to grow as an entertainer.
But anyone who has attended will tell you these are the visible parts of the iceberg. Beneath all this is a caring community that turns strangers into family. You may arrive feeling like you are alone, but by the time it is over you will begin counting the days until you can go again.
Now that I’ve given you the reasons to attend, let’s talk about the reasons not to …
Some people feel the conVENTion is too expensive.
Let’s look at this – In 2019, if you had registered early, the registration rate was $150 for the principal family member and $100 for each other immediate family member.
After May 1, 2019 rehistration rose to $175 and $130 respectively.
That covers all four days of a jam packed conVENTion, filled with shows, lectures, workshops, discussions, open mics, dealers rooms, a hospitality suite and even a free tour of the Vent Haven Museum.
The 2019 conVENTion room rate was only $115.50 plus taxes per night. Food is extra – but you’d be eating at home too … and there are refrigerators in the rooms with grocery stores nearby and plenty of other dining options.
Now let’s look at some other conventions:
KAX is $270 to register, spouses are $135. While the room rates weren’t listed on the site, it did state to ask for the Best Price – so I checked out the hotel and the best price for 2020 was $136 a night.
The Society Of American Magicians Convention is only 3 days and started at $99, then jumped to $145 after their rate hike. None S.A.M. members are $165.00. Yes, the principal registration is cheaper – but, do you want to attend the banquet on Thursday night? That is another $60.
What do you get? Two great shows (as compared to 4 at VHC) four lectures, (as compared to 6 at VHC plus the 6 workshops), a regional magic flea market (we have two dealers rooms of puppets, props, memoribilia & educational materials.) Again, the banquet is extra.
They do beat our hotel rate by $6.50 a night.
The International Brotherhood of Magicians Convention registration started at $329 and rose to $349. Not an IBM member, only $404 to $424 – but that includes a year of membership.
Want to go to the special events? Be prepared to pay for the evening shows, banquet and Merlin breakfast – that adds up to an extra $165 for each adult.
Again, they beat us on the hotel room rate – only $95 but there are added charges for Bellman services and a $3 daily charge for housekeeping.
I don’t want to sound like I am knocking any of these other events – but I want to point out that the 2019 International Ventriloquist ConVENTion is a bargin!
It includes all events, all lectures, all shows and even a free shuttle to the free museum tour.
If I had the chance to learn from 6 different lectures and another 4 workshops of my choosing, taught by professional ventriloquists, at those rates – you can bet I’d be there.
Oh, that’s right, I will be.
How about you?