LoneStarCon 2, the 1997 Worldcon

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The Second Occasional LoneStarCon Science Fiction Convention and Chili Cook-off, Variously known as the 55th World Science Fiction Convention and LoneStarCon 2, the 1997 Worldcon, To be held from August 28th through September 1st, in the year 1997, in San Antonio, Texas.

Christmas Along The Riverwalk

Reprinted from LoneStarCon 2's Progress Report #1

Christmas Along the Riverwalk

by Casey Hamilton

Having heard about the holiday lights along the Riverwalk for almost as long as I've lived in Texas, I decided this year it was finally time to go see for myself how San Antonio celebrates the holidays. Since Ed had a couple of days off from work for Christmas, we made the hour and a half trek south from Austin to San Antonio the Friday before Christmas.
We planned to meet friends from Kansas who were visiting San Antonio for Christmas, in the lobby of the Marriott Rivercenter about 5 p.m. We got there in plenty of time and easily found a parking spot in our favorite pay-as-you-park lot, nestled between the Alamo and the Crockett Hotel, and right around the corner from the Rivercenter Mall.
It's a weird tradition of mine to visit malls right before Christmas, either on the 23rd or Christmas Eve. Earlier than that, I get annoyed by the crowds always seeming to meander right in my way, by the kids screaming, by the lines of people everywhere. But right before Christmas, things click into place for me, and I start to enjoy Christmas.
I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of huge numbers of people. Sure, there were plenty of people there, but most of the locals were off at one of the other malls in town. The crowd at the River Center Mall seemed to be more visitors and tourists.
After wandering for a while, we walked through the intervening glass doors on the street level of the mall, directly into the lobby of the Marriott Rivercenter, spotted our friends, and tried to figure out where to go for dinner. Since there are literally dozens and dozens of options available in a very short walking distance, it generally takes a while to make the decision.
It wasn't dark yet, so rather than doing the Riverwalk right away, we decided to head for Landrys Seafood House. The food is usually good and reasonably priced. Landrys also has the benefit of being right around the corner from one of our two Marriotts, and just down the street from the convention center. After dinner, we headed down to the Riverwalk for drinks and dessert.
We located one of the convenient entry points to the Riverwalk just half a block down the street, and descended to a different world, romantic and entirely removed from the reality of street level. Traffic noises immediately faded away and our senses were overwhelmed with the red, green and white lights twinkling in all the trees and reflecting on the rippled water, a nearly psychedelic effect.
The Riverwalk has always felt like a cross between an old European city and the nicer parts of New Orleans' French Quarter. It's designed for strolling, with relatively few steps or stairs, for wandering from one restaurant to another, as you check out the menus conveniently located for potential customers' perusal. Most of the restaurants, which span a broad range of food types and prices, have both indoor and outdoor seating, sometimes stretching right out to the river.
The myriad assortment of restaurants snuggle up against each other on every side, with occasional shops and galleries thrown in to keep the mix more interesting. Italian, Texan, Thai, Chinese, ribs, steaks, seafood-one right after another after another. The entire time, river taxis and dinner barges make their way from one end of the Riverwalk to the other, sometimes with carolers entertaining themselves as well as those they pass.
After looking at close to a dozen different menus, and not finding what I was in the mood for, we discovered a place called Dicks, which specializes in wait staff with smartaleck attitudes-perfect for a Friday night. We took one of the outdoor tables, and were pleased to find active heat lamps over each table. Jackets and coats were definitely not necessary, even though it was in the mid 50s outdoors.
Great fudge pie, large glasses of Shiner Bock on tap and good Irish coffee, conversation with friends, enjoying the holiday lights, and the pleasure of watching people make their way along the Riverwalk both on foot and by boat, was definitely a splendid way to spend a Friday evening. I heartily recommend it.
Unfortunately, Ed and I had to get back to Austin if for no other reason than to feed the cats. But I suspect we'll be back to wander the Riverwalk many times before LoneStarCon 2, at least if I have my way about it.

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Comments to maintainer: alamowebmaster@alamo-sf.org. Original web page design by Earl Cooley III. This publication ©1997 by LoneStarCon 2, a service mark of Austin Literary Arts Maintenance Organization (ALAMO), Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit literary, educational corporation. All rights reserved. "World Science Fiction Society", "WSFS", "World Science Fiction Convention", "Worldcon", "NASFiC", and "Hugo Award" are registered service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society. This page <URL:http://www.alamo-sf.org/lonestarcon2/features/xmas01.html> last changed 05 April, 1997 03:34:24. Background pattern element Copyright ©1997 by The Escher Group and used by permission. Arrow design Copyright ©1997 by The Scriptorium and used by permission. This site uses some Third-Generation Site Design principles, some HTML 3.2 features and is maintained using HomeSite 2.5b3 and pop!site 1.0R60.
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