bookmark_borderGuest of Honor Cancellation: Baha Blast

Hello, Penguicon.
Guest of Honor, Baha Blast, will no longer be joining us this year.
Why? In all honesty…
First, I completely neglected to follow up on communication that I should not have assumed had been handled. This is something a conchair should always be on top of, especially with Guests of Honor! I was not. They were understandably frustrated.
Second, when they came to me with safety concerns, I first misread the severity of those concerns, and though immediately offering the extra backup they requested, my response came through in a way that did not make them feel that their safety was my priority. I can not blame them in the least for this.
And so, sadly, this is an announcement to say that all of the Drag programming will be cancelled this weekend. I made decisions early on in the process and of which I should have foreseen the consequences, and this is the result.
Please make sure to support your favorite Drag Royalty, and show them all of the love that they clearly deserve. ❤
ConChair, PenguiCon 2024


The hotel room block absolutely ENDS on March 28. We need to fill up the last of the rooms, and if you want to stay for our discounted Penguicon rates, then you HAVE TO BOOK your room now!

EDIT: Date has been pushed to April 5th, but that’s definitely going to be the hard deadline.

See the Hotel Page for all the details, or go straight to the Penguicon booking link here.

bookmark_borderGuest of Honor: benny Vasquez

Woman in glasses, squinting in the sunlight, wearing a black top and covered in green confetti

benny Vasquez (she/her) is the Chair of the Board of Directors at the AlmaLinux OS Foundation and brings nearly 20 years of experience to the role. With experience as Manager of Community and Developer Relations at Progress, Manager of Community Engagement at cPanel, and Head of Monitoring at LiquidWeb, all before joining Microsoft as an Open Source Security Program Manager, benny boasts a successful trac
k record in community building, customer engagement, and business development. With leadership roots in community management, product
 management, and business strategy, benny is a leading voice in the world of community-driven software and everything AlmaLinux. benny is passionate about AlmaLinux OS and is dedicated to this innovative global community’s commitment to complete transparency and community-focused development.

bookmark_borderAuction Success!

Nearly everything from the Auction has now been shipped, and with not a single person requesting reimbursement for their shipping costs, the Auction brought in a total of $3,209.

This, plus additional non-auction donations, and the ticket sales we’ve made so far, went to making our first $5,000 payment to the hotel. I can’t even explain how much you all helped. This was a HUGE demand this early in the year, and we have done it! Well done, everyone.

We are already planning another for end-of-March into beginning-of-April next year, so that deliveries can be made AT Penguicon!


bookmark_borderTech Guest of Honor: J. Wolfgang Goerlich

J. Wolfgang Goerlich is a hacker and an Advisory CISO. Prior to this role, he led IT and IT security in the healthcare and financial services verticals. Wolfgang has held senior positions at several consulting firms, leading security advisory and assessment practices. He is an active part of the security community, co-founding and organizing communities and conferences. Wolfgang regularly advises on the topics of security architecture and design, identity and access management, zero trust, and resilience.

bookmark_borderGuest of Honor: Margret-Ann Miller

With Bagel as conchair, you KNOW there has to be some needle felting! I am honored and thrilled to announce our next guest of honor. Check out our auction for a piece she has graciously donated!
Margret-Ann Miller, a Toledo, Ohio native, started needle felting in 2011 and was teaching the art form by 2013. She has been featured in several international fiber arts and doll magazines, including Art Doll Quarterly, Fiber Art Now, and International Doll Artists. In addition, her needle felted dragons and dolls have been exhibited in galleries, museums, and international art exhibitions and competitions.
“I am honored and excited to have been asked to be a Guest of Honor at Penguicon again!” She refers to her 2020 GOH appearance, which was canceled due to COVID. “Let’s hope the second time is a charm. I’m looking forward to finally attending this event!”

bookmark_borderCyber Monday Auction Fundraiser

Blue Hexagon with a Penguin on a Rocket inside of it.Hello, Penguicon!

We’re trying something I don’t think we’ve ever tried before. We’re going to try having an online auction, pre-con!

Starting on Cyber Monday (November 27), we will be hosting an auction with items donated by our generous congoers, makers, authors, and artists. It will run up to 11:45PM on Thursday (November 30). You can go check out what’s already been donated, at GiveButter. This platform is free for Penguicon to use, minus payment processing fees, and it is funded entirely by tips made along with donations. You can get registered now, so that you are all ready to bid, when the auction opens!

If you have something you would like to donate, please fill out This Form and email [email protected] with any questions. We are accepting new items, handmade items, collectible items, books, as well as gift cards, subscriptions, experiences, and services.

This is part of our attempt to front-feed funds to cover the Penguicon expenses that come many months before the con itself.

bookmark_border2024 Financial Transparency

Now that things are buzzing again a bit, I want to have a Real Talk.

ConChair 2024 here. Have a seat. I’m about to be SUPER transparent. Don’t worry. You’re not in trouble. And Penguicon isn’t in any trouble that we can’t get out of. We’ve got this.

Have we been struggling financially a bit the past few years? We have.
These conventions cost a relative fortune to host, especially when you are trying to work in “post”-COVID conditions, with pre-COVID expectations. Our long-time hotel was used to being able to charge $X for things, and so they did, despite half-attendance. Attendees are used to certain things that are part of what make PenguiCon our favorite event. These things ARE part of Penguicon, but they also cost money that isn’t necessarily scaled to the attendance as much as we would like. The ConCom has worked hard to keep PenguiCon as amazing as possible, while tightening its PenguiBelt.

Here’s the honest truth.
Going into 2020, PenguiCorp (the organization) was already struggling. We’d gone through a few years of hotel charges we hadn’t anticipated, and ended up chewing through savings. 2020 was to be run on a lowered budget, and we would have recouped, been prepared for the additional hotel fees, and we would have been in really good shape afterward! We had this.

However. 2020. Happened. And all that that implies.
I am still more grateful than you know to everyone who donated or offered to roll over their badges that year (I was conchair for 2020). It literally saved PenguiCon.
But yearly expenses are not minimal. Savings took a hit.

And then 2021 had to be virtual, as well. It ran on a zero budget, with any expenses being entirely donated. The storage cube still had to be paid for. PenguiCorp still had yearly expenses to cover. Savings dwindled again.

2022? We were being literally held to the hotel contract that PenguiCorp signed in 2019, with very few compensations made. PenguiCon’s expenses go up exponentially, the fewer hotel rooms we sell. And we were nowhere near our contracted number of rooms, despite all of the amazing attendees who booked double! PenguiCorp spent almost the entire rest of its savings to prevent even MORE expenses from outright bankrupting us.
PenguiCorp still had yearly expenses to pay for, on top of the hotel and con costs.

In 2023, we were finally able to get a revised contract, though it was still going to cut it VERY close. The hotel was still accustomed to us being able to afford certain things. Thanks to our amazing attendees, we covered costs and we still exist! But Penguicon only JUST covered costs, despite running on absolute pennies, pleas, and practicality. There was no income over and above what it cost. And there was nothing left over.

In fact, extremely generous board members have paid a lot of the the last 6 months of expenses out of their own pockets, just so that Penguicon can still exist.

So far this year (post-2023 event), we have raised almost $3400 in badge sales and donations. We have started to rebuild our finances. We know what’s coming, and are (almost) prepared. Unfortunately, the hotel contract this year includes partial pre-payment requirements, at $5,000 a pop (not uncommon for working with a new hotel). The Storage Cube continues to cost monthly fees. We will need to pay for Sched so that we can properly schedule programming and save on printing fees. And our Event Insurance bill comes due early next year, and is another few thousand dollars. All of this comes sooner than our bank accounts would like. The earlier you purchase your tickets, the less we have to stress over covering the pre-con expenses.

So. Are we going to continue to ask you to buy badges early and often? Are we going to beg you to book those hotel rooms? Are we going to suggest you hit up our RedBubble to buy nice things? Are we going to ask you to volunteer and sign on as staff so that ConCom can focus on putting more effort into fundraising?

Yes. We are.

Penguicon would love to keep existing. We would LOVE to leave 2024 in a position where 2025 isn’t starting from a deficit. We would love to be able to bring back some things we’ve had in the past, but have had to pause. We would love to keep bringing you bigger and better things as we all pull through this.

I would like to thank in particular: our sponsor Liberty Center One, which hosts Penguicon’s server space. The amount of data we own is not insignificant, and this has been incredibly generous of them.

I would also like to thank our Board members, who have been amazing and are actively working to decrease our expenses, when they’re not paying for them out of their own pockets. Some of these things take time to wrap up, but they’re hoping they might be able to announce a big one early next year.

I would also like to thank you, our attendees. Our staff. Our volunteers. Penguicorp, Penguicon, 2024 ConCom, and everyone else involved thank you. From the bottoms of our penguin-y hearts.

Speaking of penguin bottoms… I’ve started a tracker for this year, and as we raise funds, you get to color in this year’s Penguin! This way, we can all see WHAT we’re paying for, and how far we have come.
Penguicorp and its annual events like Penguicon 2024 are a 501c3, a non-profit. We never look to make a profit. We seek to cover the convention expenses, and the annual Penguicorp expenses, and then if we’re able, bank a little savings. No more, no less.