Dealer FAQ

Some of this information may change as hotel details get confirmed.

General Dealer Questions

What is Arisia?

Arisia is a volunteer-run, nonprofit science fiction convention founded in 1988. Arisia'19 will be our 30th convention. For the past couple of years, we've had over 4,000 attendees, including volunteers, panelists, and others who help make Arisia be what it is. Arisia is New England's largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention.

When & Where is Arisia?

January 18th - 21st, 2019. The convention starts Friday afternoon and finishes Monday afternoon.

Boston Park Plaza Hotel
50 Park Plaza,
Boston MA 02116

If I have questions, who do I talk to?

Questions should be sent to the Dealer's Liaison via e-mail to @email.

What is the process for me to vend at Arisia?

  1. Fill out the application form, including an agreement to pay all applicable associated fees to both Arisia and the hotel, and to abide by Arisia Rules and Regulations.
  2. Receive confirmation that we have allocated space for you.
  3. After you get confirmation: make payment and reservations as follows:
    1. Pay your dealer’s fee: first table $120, second table $140, third table $160, fourth table $180. Payment instructions will be included with your acceptance letter.
    2. Purchase your needed memberships. You will be able to purchase memberships at the pre-convention rate of $55.00 per person until September 30.
      Between September 30 and November 30, applications received prior to 9/30 will be allowed to purchase a limited number of $55 memberships:

      • One (1) per table allocated.

      Memberships in excess of this allowance must be purchased at the rate in effect at the time of registration. Discounted memberships must be purchased by December 1st.

      If you are not certain as to who will help staff your dealer space, memberships may be purchased as "Minion #n of Company X". Real names must be provided to Registration no later than December 15.

    3. Reserve a hotel room. You should plan on booking your room as soon as hotel reservations open.

You will receive confirmation from Arisia Dealers Liaison that we have received your dealer's fee and confirmation from Arisia Registration that they have processed your membership registrations. If you do not receive these confirmations please contact the Dealer Liaison.

How are applicants chosen to vend at Arisia?

The Arisia Dealer's Room is a curated venue.  Returning vendors get first priority with all other applicants chosen to reflect:

  • Products of interest to a Science Fiction / Fantasy minded audience
  • Products that add to the diversity of offerings
  • Timeliness of application

Note:  Any vendor who vended at the previous year's Arisia who does not apply by 9/15 will be considered as not interested in vending at the upcoming Arisia.

May I share my space with another vendor?

Absolutely. Discuss it with them ahead of time. You will need to mention them on your application form and they will need to mention you on their application form. At least one of you will need to let us know who will be responsible for paying for your shared space.

Tell me about the Dealer's Room?

The Dealer's Room is an area in a large exhibit space.  This area will be secured after hours, so that our dealers can set up Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and tear down Monday afternoon, without having to do daily set-up and tear down during the weekend.

What is the cost? What do I get for this cost?

The cost is: first table $120, second table $140, third table $160, fourth table $180. Each table is a double 6' by 18" set, giving the dealer 6’ x 36” of table display space. If you who want more than two tables spaces, you will have to provide justification on the application form with your request. Available extra spaces will be granted on a case-by-case basis. As always, we are limiting the number of tables to be appropriate for our attendance.

The cost of a table does not include memberships. See next question for more on this.

We will provide at least one power outlet per dealer, if you ask for it. If you need more than one, please bring power strips and/or extension cords. Power strips and extension cords must be grounded (3 wire). You must clearly label all such items as belonging to your company.

The hotel does not have storage areas for boxes or crates, so packing materials will have to go under your table, or back to your vehicles. Packing materials should be labeled with an externally visible name in case we need to contact the owner for some reason.

Who must get a membership?

Memberships are required for all workers and helpers at the convention, including children, even if they do not plan to attend any other part of Arisia. "Kid-In-Tow" memberships are available at no cost for when your child (of any age) will be accompanying a responsible adult with their own membership at all times. Memberships must be purchased through Arisia Registration. See the Registration FAQ for more details on registering.

If you have people coming to help with set-up or break-down who are not staying to work nor to attend the convention please contact @email ahead of time so that they can make arrangements to admit your short-term helpers.

What other costs should I be aware of?

  • If you will be staying overnight at the convention you will need a room. See the Hotel page for information on reserving rooms at Boston Park Plaza hotel.
  • Costs for getting your materials to/from hotel. We encourage you to tip staff who help you move things, even if you are not staying at hotel.
  • Costs for Parking. There is no free parking anywhere near the hotel. There is hotel valet parking, as well as a variety of paid lots nearby. There are some streets with metered spaces; Boston does not charge for meter parking on Sundays nor holidays including Martin Luther King, Jr holiday (Arisia Monday). See the parking page for lots more info.
  • Costs for food, and for any other items that you want to purchase at Arisia, especially from your fellow vendors. We have a printed Restaurant Guide available where you pick up your badge at Registration, and online information about food at Arisia.
  • Advertising is available in the Souvenir Book, a full-color, high-quality professionally produced offset print publication distributed to all attendees as part of their membership. For available ad sizes, rates, and deadlines, see the advertising info page.

What are the hours of operation?

The Dealer’s Room will be open for you to start moving in at 3pm on Thursday, and at 10am on Friday. All day Thursday and Friday until 5pm, only people with Dealer Ribbons will be able to get into the Dealer's room. You get your Dealer's Ribbons from the Dealer's Liaison at the convention.

Proposed Dealer's Room public hours are:

  • Friday 5pm - 9pm
  • Saturday 10am - 7pm
  • Sunday 10am - 7pm
  • Monday 10am - 2:30pm

What if I Need to Cancel?

Notify us as early as possible - refunds will be given only if we are able to resell your tables. You may not resell or sublet your space yourself; however, if you have a person in mind please let us know who it is and have them fill out the dealer application. We will work with you to make the transfer if at all possible.

Dealer's Room Questions

What is the lighting like?

The lighting in the Dealer’s room is not great. If you have readily transportable lights, it's probably a very good idea to bring them along.

What is the power situation?

If you ask for it, we will make sure that your area has an outlet. We will have at least one power drop per dealer island/wall-group. You should bring at least one grounded (3 wire) extension cord. If you need to plug in more than one item, please bring a grounded (3 wire) power strip. You will be sharing power with your neighboring dealers.

Can I get Internet?

Free Internet cannot be guaranteed in the Dealer’s Room. If Arisia is able to create a room-wide hot-spot we will notify dealers. Wired internet is available at $125/drop. Reservations for a wired Internet connection must be made no later than December 1.

How do I Load In?

There are three ways to get in to the hotel. 

  • Through the hotel lobby to the passenger elevators (if you use a bellman, please tip generously).
  • Enter through the "Valet" entrance and use the service elevators
  • Or use the Freight elevator (not quite a loading dock.

Please unload as rapidly as possible and then move your vehicle to allow other vendors to also unload.

Can I load into the Dealer's Room on Thursday?

Yes. The room will be secured overnight on Thursday. If you want to load in early, and miss the Friday rush, we would be delighted to have you do so. We will have the Dealer's Room open for load-in, and a volunteer to door guard between 3pm and 10pm Thursday. After about 10pm, the room will be closed to setup, and secured. Please don’t arrive before 3pm on Thursday as we will very probably still be in the process of setting up the room.

More Information

What are the Rules on Weapons Sales?

  • Any weapons (real or simulated) sold in the Arisia Dealer’s room must be peace bonded.
  • The location of the peace bonding station will be announced by the time the dealer’s room is open for business.
  • All edged weapons (swords, knives, arrows, etc.) must be wrapped in cardboard and securely taped when sold.
  • Any weapons not peace bonded must be immediately removed from the convention area (e.g brought to the purchaser’s room or vehicle).

Can I Sell Adult Items?

Yes, but you must follow these practices:

  1. In the general Dealer's Room, materials that are sexually explicit, extremely graphically violent, or otherwise unsuitable for persons under the age of 18 in the United States, must be displayed in a manner that keeps any person under the age of 18 from seeing them. All "naughty bits" (sexual and violent) must be covered. This rule applies even if the material may be sold to persons under 18 in its country of origin or in the home location of your business.
  2. Vend such items only in the designated "Adult Only" area where entrance will be limited to persons 18 years of age or older. If you are selling adult items that cannot be hidden from view (such as BDSM toys) you will be placed in the Adult Only area. This is a relatively small area (4 - 5 vendors). If you feel that your merchandise would be best displayed there, please let us know.

If you are selling adult items, you must agree that it is your responsibility to ensure that minors do not have access to adult items. This can be done by checking ID before allowing patrons to look in a closed box/binder or area or through the ID check done before attendees may enter the Adult Only area.

The acceptability of displays of adult material is at the sole discretion of the Dealer's Room Coordinators. If we hear or see that you have adult items that are easily visible to minors, you will receive one warning, and will be expected to rectify the situation immediately. If you require a second warning, Arisia reserves the right to either mandate how you rectify the situation, or to close your shop without refund of vending fees.

What Other Display Considerations Do I Need to Follow?

  • Any material that might be construed to be hate-related is strictly forbidden. Dealers and staff are members of the convention and are required to follow the Arisia Code of Conduct. If you have any questions about whether certain materials might fall into this category please contact the Dealer Liaison before setting up your display.
  • If you are selling music please provide your customers with headphones so that they can listen. The Dealer’s Room is too noisy to quietly play music and expect that it will be heard.
  • If you are selling fragrant merchandise, please keep it covered and allow your customers to sniff if they want to sample. The Dealer's Room must remain accessible to people who are sensitive to fragrances. Please provide your customers with appropriate containers to carry their scented purchases.

What Laws and Rules Do I Need to be Concerned About?

  • You are responsible for observing all applicable laws (including, but not limited to tax, copyright, decency laws (see Adult Items)
  • All vendors are required to have a MA Sales Tax number in order to vend at Arisia as we are required to submit a list of vendors and their tax numbers to the Commonwealth.

    This rule applies whether your business is MA-based business or out-of-state. It also applies even if you are selling only items that are tax exempt. If you are a tax exempt business (e.g. 501(c)3) you must submit your tax-exempt number.

    Please see our web page describing "How to Apply for a Massachusetts Sales Tax ID" for further information. In addition our Tax Czarina is willing to assist any vendors with the process. Her email is @email.

  • If you are an out-of-state vendor (or are unfamiliar with the MA sales tax rules) you should read: A Guide to Sales and Use Taxes. For more information on Massachusetts taxes, see the Department of Revenue web site or call: (617) 887-MDOR (or (800) 392-6089).
  • To find out what weapons are not legal to carry in Massachusetts see Mass. General Laws Chapter 269, Section10 — search for paragraph (b) in the middle.
  • The hotel contract says that bumper stickers and any other sort of sticker may not be distributed at the convention, so no free stickers advertising your business. You may use non-adhesive flyers placed on the tables Arisia has set out throughout the hotel.
  • Boston has passed an ordinance placing a ban on "Disposable Checkout Bags" which is scheduled to take effect late in 2018. The following is a link to the text of the ban: City of Boston Municipal Code Chapter XVII. Scroll down to: scroll down to "17-20 REDUCTION OF CHECKOUT BAGS BY RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS." Arisia is checking on the impact of this ban and will send out further information to registered dealers when we receive it.
  • Food that is sold at Arisia must be limited to food that is "non-potentially hazardous foods". All foods must have complete and accurate ingredient lists. Rules for "non-potentially hazardous foods" are outlined in the following: Residential Kitchen Brochure *MS Word document)

When I get to Arisia, what procedure should I follow?

In no particular order, you will need to:

  • Unload and then park your vehicle. You must clear the loading dock area before you begin to set up your space.
  • Check in at the Registration desk and pick up your badges. Each person must pick up their own badges. On Thursday evening, Registration is open only for badge pickup. No badges may be purchased on Thursday.
  • Check in at the hotel desk and get your hotel room keys The hotel's check-in begins at 3 PM.
  • Find your Dealer's Liaison, let us know you are here, get answers to questions, and collect your dealer's ribbons.

Why are you asking ....

  • Membership information, if you aren't selling us our memberships?
    So that we can estimate how many Dealer's Ribbons we need, and so that we can check the names you give against our registration database to make sure you registered.

  • Whether we will be open for vending on Monday?
    This is a four-day convention, and we do not want the Dealer's Room looking deserted on Monday morning. Dealers who plan to pack up Sunday or early Monday before opening will be considered last to get tables and rooms, and may not get a spot.

  • For us to both check off what we sell and to describe what we sell?
    The description will be used for deciding between applicants if we have more applications than spots; dealers who provide better descriptions will be considered ahead of ones who did not. If we have space in our publications to list dealers we will use your descriptions along with your vendor name.

    The description and the check boxes will also be used so we can try to avoid putting similar dealers next to each other; this does not apply to dealers selling adult items in the adult sales area.

Where is the Dealer's Application Form?

The form and additional information are on our dealer's questionnaire page.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at @email