Host the 2019 Ball! – Request for Proposals

Shindig with Mal and InaraWe are now accepting proposals to host Browncoat Ball 2019. Applications for hosting the BCB 2019 should be completed and e-mailed to (with “BCB Proposal” in the subject line) by July 1, 2018. Please try to make your proposal as clear and complete as possible so it can stand on its own as a document explaining your proposed event. The BCB Steering Committee will review the proposals, make follow-up inquiries and render a final decision by August 1, 2018. The selected host committee will have until August 7, 2018 to accept/commit, and the 2019 location will be announced on Saturday, August 18, 2018 at the Ball in Washington DC.

Serious applicants should send a proposal with the following information:

  1. A statement from your group about why you would like to host the 2019 BCB.
  2. Proposed dates for the event (a non-holiday weekend, ideally in August, September or October 2019, negotiable with justification).
  3. Proposed location (including the city) and the name of and preliminary room rates quotes for at least one hotel that would have reasonable rates and at least 20-25 rooms available for the proposed dates. (This doesn’t have to be the final location, and multiple sites can be proposed if that is preferred.)
  4. Estimate on the total cost of a ballroom/banquet facility, conference center, or other venue that has availability during the proposed dates, including room rental and catering. (Please consider kosher and vegetarian options when planning the menu. Bonus points if your venue can accommodate vegans and people with gluten allergies.) Financial details for previous BCBs are available for reference.
  5. A list of 1-5 additional tourist or entertainment activities that could be done at or near the BCB site and an estimate and explanation of the costs associated with these activities (for example, transportation to and from the event, admission fees, food charges, decoration costs). All activities and related transportation costs should be included in the BCB ticket price. Special activities can be proposed at additional cost so long as there are options that do not bear additional costs. Think creatively! Some of the best activities cost very little, can be tied in easily with the Firefly ‘verse and don’t require a ton of planning. For example, the 2004 BCB included a Chinese Welcome Dinner and Tea Ceremony on the rooftop of the hotel and the Train Job Luncheon on a privately chartered commuter train. The 2008 BCB offered low-cost activities taught by host committee members such as How to Play Mahjong and Intro to Belly Dancing. Additional details from past BCBs are available on request and can be found on our History page. The sky is the limit! This can be more of a brainstorming list of possible activities rather than a final list.
  6. Additional transportation details such as how far the BCB site is from a major national/international airport, what transportation options exist to and from the airport and how much they cost, and how far the site is from other major cities within driving distance. Please take into consideration the availability of accessible options for Browncoats with disabilities for all aspects of the event.
  7. Total estimate on the operational costs (not including lodging and airfare) and estimate of ticket cost (we suggest between $125 and $175, but other price points will be considered depending on offerings), including possible options for different event packages. Suggestions regarding package options are available on request.
  8. Coordinating Committee: A tentative list of 5-10 people willing to:
    – Make facility reservations and coordinate event planning
    – Register guests
    – Promote the event, including Internet updates, newsletters and invitations
    – Be the Webmaster for the 2019 Web site. (If no Webmaster is available, the BCB Steering Committee can maintain the Web site, but the 2019 hosts must be willing to provide/edit/review the text for the Web site.) The BCB also provides a Facebook Page, Twitter & Instagram accounts, Yahoo! group, MailChimp mailing list, and online forum that the hosts can use to promote the 2019 BCB.
    – Handle incoming and outgoing money, and create and work within a budget (treasurer). This is extremely important, as the 2019 hosting committee will bear the financial responsibility if the event goes over the budget. The BCB Steering Committee will provide financial summaries of the prior events to the 2019 hosts to give you an idea of what you can look forward to with regards to expenses, although the cost of the event will vary depending on the location. You are then required to provide a similar financial report to reflect how your event was managed, so future events can benefit as well.
    – You can propose to host a BCB in an area other than where you live, but at least two 2019 coordinating committee members should live/work near the site being proposed.
    – Committee members must be willing to commit to approximately 3 or 4 conference calls or conference chat sessions with the BCB Steering Committee so all parties can be sure things are still on track and to discuss any major changes, if any.
    – At least one of the coordinating committee members should be named Amy. If you do not have a committee member named Amy, you may nominate one of your committee members to be an honorary Amy. If you fail to provide an Amy for your committee, one will be provided to you by the BCB Steering Committee.
  9. A preliminary marketing plan outlining how you propose to promote your event and attract attendees.
  10. When the event is over, your committee will need to provide a financial report to reflect how your event was managed and for the benefit of future host committees.
  11. Contact information, including name, e-mail address and evening phone number for one member of the coordinating committee who will serve as a contact for notification purposes. (The BCB Steering Committee will in turn provide the 2019 hosts with contact info for consultation purposes.)
  12. Your commitment to maintain a positive attitude and have a good time!
  13. NOTE: The real estate adage “location, location, location” does not necessarily hold true as the primary factor for the selection of the winning BCB proposal. While the BCB Steering Committee does like to see the BCB move around geographically, we are also concerned about costs, event specifics, and the commitment of the bidding committees. Don’t let the current or past locations of the BCB discourage you from putting together a proposal. Even prior locations will be considered.

    Also, don’t worry if you’ve never been to a BCB before. We only do this once a year, and it has taken some committees 3 bids until they were selected. The bottom line is that the BCB wouldn’t be possible without Browncoats… Browncoats like you!


    The BCB Steering Committee is here to help you. We want you to put together the best bid you can, and have fun doing it. Every member of the committee played a key role in running one or more Browncoat Ball and often several other fandom events. We are here to answer questions and be sounding boards for ideas. We encourage anyone interested in putting together a bid for the BCB to reach out to us early and often at

    Many questions usually pop up while preparing a bid, so we encourage you to contact us at and share your intent to submit a bid. This way we know your bid is coming and we can make someone available to answer your questions. All bids, and intents to submit bids, are confidential and will only be reviewed by the BCB Steering Committee. The identities of those submitting or considering submitting bids will not be made public, only the winning bid upon announcement.


    The inaugural BCB was held in Chicago in 2004, with the goal of establishing an affordable, annual, not-for-profit event created by fans for fans, capable of bringing Browncoats from all over the world together to celebrate Firefly, Serenity and our fabulous fandom. The BCB has also been held in San Francisco (2006), Philadelphia (2007), Austin (2008), Portland (2009), Charlotte (2010), Providence/Warwick (2011), Albuquerque (2012), Phoenix (2013), Greenville SC (2014), Virginia Beach (2015), Salt Lake City (2016), and Gettysburg PA (2017). This year (2018), the Ball will be in Washington DC.

    Hosting the BCB is a labor of love. While the central BCB Steering Committee will share planning materials and tips, and offer assistance in the fundraising and promotional process, the 2019 hosts should respect the fact that it is hard work to host a successful BCB, but it is extremely rewarding.

    Since the BCB is a small event and cannot sustain comping volunteers, a guiding principle of the BCB since its inception is that everyone pays their own way (attendance, lodging, airfare): committee members, volunteers, and attendees alike. This way, the attendees do not subsidize the volunteers or committee members.

    Along the same lines, we encourage the BCB host committee to put every dollar coming in into the BCB itself so the attendees are getting the full value of their membership. If, however, any funds are leftover, they should be paid forward to the next year’s host committee. This ensures that all proceeds go into a BCB, even if it wasn’t the BCB it was meant for.


    The BCB Steering Committee is comprised of BCB organizers from all previous years. These are the people who put together their own proposals and were on the ground working when they hosted the BCB in their neck of the woods. The BCB Steering Committee exists to evaluate proposals and provide guidance to the current host committee and all future event bidders. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the BCB Steering Committee at Please state the nature of your inquiry in the subject line of the e-mail.

A weekend of fun, enigmas, and mischief – all under the nose of trained Alliance Feds!