1990 Annual Gathering of American Mensa

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Program book cover

The 1990 Annual Gathering of American Mensa, California Dreaming, was held in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Marriott. It lasted from June 28th through July 1st. Art Mattson was the AG chairman. It had 1481 attendees.

The hospitality food at this AG was renowned for its quantity and quality. Hospitality was located in a 5,000 square foot ballroom, with a designated section as the smoking area. According to the program book, it took months of negotiating to get the hotel to allow the volunteers to supply their own food. According to issues of the local newsletter (The Oracle) from the time, there was also months of preparation going into making a wide variety of food available, with special Mensa meetings devoted to cooking and other related tasks. The result was what is widely regarded as the high-water mark of AG hospitality food, something that later AGs have seldom approached.

There are some who critique the high expectations AG attendees have regarding hospitality food (largely formed by this AG); they say that it's generally unreasonable to expect a hotel to give in to this extent on allowing outside food, and the norm in the future may be more like the Las Vegas AG where only dry snacks were available, and even that required heroic negotiating with the hotels and their unions. Heavy-food AGs encourage an attitude of attempting to subsist for the entire length of the AG on nothing but hospitality food, which may be unhealthy. However, Mensans on a budget find this economical, and may have trouble affording the trip otherwise.

Ironically, the "low-food hospitality" AG of 2004 was chaired by Cookie Bakke, who was in charge of the "high-food hospitality" of 1990 along with her husband, so she has been involved in both styles.

There were a bunch of games and gimmicks at this AG; the registration packets (as well as stuff you got for participation in various events) had such things as playing cards, drawing-entry tickets with letters on them, and play money, which could be used, played, wagered, or redeemed in some other events during the AG.

Registration fees

Registration for the 1990 AG was $35 by 12/31/1989, $40 by 6/1/1990, $45 after.

External links

Preceded by:
1989: Atlanta
Annual Gathering of American Mensa
Succeeded by:
1991: Kansas City