I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.
We went for a site visit Tues and I think it will really work out well for us. Good parking, easy to find, and brand new building so all is clean and shiny. Everyone has pretty much the same formula for these events; welcome and keynote, sessions, lunch, sessions, closing comments and prizes. Do we all use the same formula because it works, or because we just think that's the way it's done? Doing a "real" keynote and closing session require enough space to seat everyone and that can be a challenge for events like the Orlando Code Camp that field more than 400 attendees. We're hoping for about 200 at this first SQLSaturday and there is a room large enough to seat them all, but we're going to break with tradition and see what happens. We're going to register people from 8-9 am, give them a nice printed program guide, and send them to the breakfast line. Then right into sessions at 9 and on with the day. Instead of a closing session we're going to be raffling off a few prizes at the break between each session, and then immediatley after the last session we'll have about 5 minutes of comments followed by the grand (we hope) prizes. It works in this case, or at least we think it will, because there is a nice three story atrium with plenty of room to gather people around. Good idea or bad? We'll see in November!