SQL Saturday 119 – Chicago 2012

The weekend started with a road trip. A road trip with me, my husband, and 4 other SQL guys from Digineer. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how a 7 hour trip would go with a bunch of “geeks.” The answer? It wasn’t bad! I did feel bad for them though, as they didn’t have much leg room in our Traverse. It’s great with 5 kids in the back, not so much with 4 adults. They were troopers though!

Once we got to the hotel and got checked in, we decided to head over to Famous Dave’s for a little appetizer before the speaker dinner. After joining with friends there, we came back to the hotel to wait until it was time to go to dinner. By some chance, Jason Strate (@StrateSQL), his co-workers, including @markvsql, and another friend, Bill Fellows (@billinkc), all started playing hackey sack. It was pretty comical watching this group of guys, mostly in their 30’s, working the sack. They actually had some decent skills, too!

We went to Dave and Buster’s for the Speaker Dinner. We had a section near the bar, with pool tables, shuffle board, and a tasty buffet. I was kind of wishing I hadn’t filled up on those appetizers. The dinner was lots of fun.  Many of our SQL friends were there, and we met some new people. We chatted the evening away.

After that, we headed back to the hotel for an impromptu pool party. Jason’s quickly-becoming-famous unicorn mask took a jump into the pool, and there was fun with beach balls. So far, the weekend was all about play. That didn’t change too much!  😉

Saturday

We got to the SQL Saturday event early, since I was volunteering at the PASS table. The organizers had Speed Pass set up, so check-in was very smooth. They had one table set up with a computer and printer for those that didn’t have their things printed out. Everyone else just had to hand in their admissions ticket, in exchange for their sponsor info and swag, a backpack that will be perfect for me to wear on The 3 Day walk.

The event was held at DeVry. Because it was held in the college, there was a large population of college students attending the event. I had many people stopping by the PASS table asking what the next (or first) step for them should be. I talked to a lot of people about joining local user groups, getting on twitter, etc. I also talked a lot about the PASS Summit (of course).

Something VERY cool the organizers of this event did, was to hold a hands-on lab for the students of the college as a “thank you” for letting them use the space. One of the organizers, Aaron Lowe (@vendoran), blogged about it here.

In the center of the area where everything took place, there was a huge break room/cafeteria space. This is where many people hung out as the day went on. It was where breakfast and lunch were served, as well as snacks and vending machines. The lunch line was very long, and wrapped all the way back through the sponsor room. It was great to have that small chance to talk with people who may have otherwise skipped coming through. Luckily for them, the lunch line moved pretty quickly, as people couldn’t wait to get their Portillo’s and start eating!

The day went amazingly fast! This was probably due to the fact that I had people at the PASS table talking to me most of the day. Overall, things seemed to go very well. People seemed to be very happy with the sessions they gave, and the sessions they attended. I was able to sneak away for a few minutes to get some pictures of speakers giving their presentations to full rooms of people.

After the SQL Saturday event, many of us went back to the hotel for some catered Famous Dave’s and #sqlkaraoke. While things got a little crazy, as they usually do for karaoke, it was a lot of fun!

I can’t say what was or wasn’t my favorite part of the weekend – probably catching up with friends we haven’t seen in a while (some since October). It was another successful SQL Saturday in the books!

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