MAGFest is the most targeted event hosted in the Baltimore/D.C. Metro area, with 20-25,000 attendees - all of whom have a love for gaming! To read more about MAGFest, check out this article on Wikipedia or the MAGFest site for Super MAGFest. This is our first time participating with the MAGFest organization, but we're thrilled for the opportunity and hope we'll be included in future events! We have no idea what to expect from this event compared to our other major cons in the area, so please be patient as we're likely to encounter hiccups in the process this year. Further, many of us attend cons at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, but we have never volunteered an event there. We're likely to encounter some growing pains!
MAGFest has graciously provided us with a free table and four free dealer badges in their Marketplace area. We have no way to anticipate the traffic we may get at this event, so it's possible the table may be slow, or overwhelming. MAGFest has some required staffing hours, but the Marketplace is open 24 hours during the event. For this first year, we plan to staff the table for the minimal hours and collect data for next year's event.
PLEASE MAKE SURE TO READ THE SECTION ABOUT FOOD AND POTTY BREAKS - THE GAYLORD IS NOT AS CONVENIENT FOR FOOD AS THE BALTIMORE CONVENTION CENTER OR THE WALTER E. WHITE CONVENTION CENTER!
As this is our first time at this event, it is CRITICAL that you are on-time for your shift, particularly since we are only covering the minimum hours. Please let @Sarah know immediately if you don't think you'll be on time for an opening shift.
As-needed Break Coverage
Between 5:30 PM - Midnight - table setup only
1:30 PM - 7:00 PM
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - breakdown/load out only
Setup and load-out instructions will be provided to volunteers working on these processes only.
There is plentiful parking in the area within convenient walking distance. It is unlikely you will need to walk more than about 5 blocks. It is strongly recommended that you pre-purchase parking so it is not sold out prior to your volunteer shift. Parking can be purchased through National Harbor's parking reservation site here: https://nationalharbor.clickandpark.com/venue Parking will cost between $14 and $20 per day. Reserving your parking ensures you will have in/out privileges during the time you are parked.
Volunteers who will be driving to the convention will incur out-of-pocket parking expenses. These parking expenses will not be reimbursed, however they can be written off at your end-of-year tax return as volunteer expenses. Please be sure to request a receipt if you use cash-paid event parking. Retain a copy of your receipts for your tax records.
I was unable to locate useful Public Transit information for getting to National Harbor. It appears that shuttle services are available from Reagan National Airport. It may be best to travel as close as possible to the area via MARC train and hire an Uber/Lyft/Taxi to your final destination.
ATTENDING PANELS, CONCERTS, EVENTS, AND EXPLORING THE CONVENTION
At this time, we are not entirely sure if the industry badges provided by MAGFest will allow normal access to panels and events. This section will be updated with further information as it becomes available, or you may be notified via text message during the event.
During your volunteer shift (especially since coverage is going to be minimal), you are not permitted to use your badge to attend events or panels. You are expected to be present at the table and actively recruiting future Extra Life participants.
Before or after your volunteer shift, you are welcome to explore the convention. If you attend an event, please be sure to remove/conceal your Extra Life name badge.
Before, during, and after your shift — especially every minute that you wear that convention badge — you are representing Extra Life, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, and the Extra Life Baltimore Guild (and in this area, Children's National as well). MAGFest has generously waived their fees for us in order to make it possible for us to attend and volunteer at this event. It is very important that we maintain a great relationship with the staff at MAGFest so that we can continue to attend. Remember, you are representing a children's charity. None of us would judge you for attending certain 18+ events, but you shouldn't be attending it using a badge donated for professional use. Use common sense, and check with @Sarah if you aren't sure if the panel or event you'd like to attend is appropriate.
LUNCHES AND POTTY BREAKS
If you need to take a quick bathroom break and you do not have backup coverage at the booth, please take any loose valuable items with you (i.e. laptops, tablets, cell phones). There will be a small lock box available in our booth as well. If you have backup coverage at the booth and need to leave to get food or take a bathroom break, please be courteous and let the other volunteer know that you are leaving the table.
The Gaylord is notoriously expensive to purchase food at, the number of vendors inside the Convention Center is limited, and the lines are horrible. Seeking food offsite includes an inconvenient walk and even longer lines. If you don't bring food, you may not have an opportunity to eat. This is the number one issue with the Gaylord National Resort! Please be sure to pack snacks or a decent, fulfilling lunch and plenty of beverages. Better yet, bring a water bottle. You will have opportunities to refill it throughout the convention.
SIGNING UP TO VOLUNTEER
This event is currently fully staffed. We need one volunteer minimum per shift to start off with, however extra coverage during periods would be appreciated! For additional details, please message @Sarah, @NodnarbDude or @Ceraph1216.
Volunteers will receive ongoing updates and instructions throughout the week and during the convention. Thanks so very much for donating your time and energy for the kids!