This is the Con I would put on:
Or maybe Ferro-Con or Red Lands Con or something. The name doesn't matter quite so much.
It would be a steampunk convention with several main tracks:
The Laboratorium, where guests would present lectures and classes on how to do things, and the attendees would get to learn how to make these things. Some might have a supply fee involved for those who want to make-and-take, but others could watch and learn for free.
The Scriptorium, where attendees could meet their favorite authors, get books signed, buy books, and attend panels featuring their favorite authors discussing steampunk literature.
The Gallery, where attendees could meet their favorite artists, buy their art, get autographs, and attend panels featuring their favorite artists discussing steampunk art.
The Concert Hall, where attendees could listen to concerts, watch performances, meet their favorite performers, see the Masquerade, and be entertained.
In addition to these tracks, which attendees could freely wander between as they desired, there would be the Tea Room (usually called the Con Suite), where attendees and guests could refresh themselves with Tea and other beverages and snacks, the Promenade, where attendees could wander to take pictures, see and be seen and be photographed, and sit and socialize, the Mercantile, where attendees could purchase various gizmos and gadgets and pieces of finery, and the Mysterium.
There would be support areas, too - Registration, Con-Ops, Security, the Staff Room, and the Green Room.
All the staff heads would have some form of dedicated communications device so they could be in constant contact. Security would have a separate communications set. Con Ops would be connected to both sets.
I would ask the attending graphic artists to submit a logo for the con, and the artist whose art was chosen to represent the con would not only receive payment for the art but also a free room and travel expenses and membership to the con and a table and a volunteer to staff it for them and a T-shirt and meals.
I'd like to run several contests before the con that people who've paid for memberships are eligible to participate in, with prizes which include Friends of the Con memberships for the next year's con, as well as other things. These contests would be graphic art, steampunk sculptural art, steampunk machines, steampunk gizmos and gadgets, and stories.
The Masquerade would have nifty prizes ranging from Friends of the Con memberships for the next con to regular memberships to trophies and more.
The prizes would be listed in the pre-advertising and the program guide.
There would be 2 program guides - the fancy one with bios and art and maps and schedules, and a plain one that just had the schedule and map.
There would be maps and signs everywhere so no one would get lost because this looks like it would be pretty big. There would be 7 programming rooms and 4 attendee rooms for shopping and socializing, not to mention the 6 support rooms for running the con! There would be a party floor or 2 (lower floors, preferably, because the party goers would be in an out and if it was on a higher floor, it would tie up the elevators, because I've yet to find a hotel that could dedicate 1 elevator to the party floor, so if the party floor[s] were the lowest floors, then most people could use the stairs and free up the elevators for those who needed them), and those would be mapped out not just in the main event area, but outside the elevators on the party floor so people could find the parties. We'd publish a party schedule that would be available at the Registration Desk, so people who planned room parties would be encouraged to tell us about them when they registered or when they picked up their registration packets so they could be on the list and maps.
We'd reserve the hotel for the day before the con and the day after as well as during the con so we wouldn't have to rush to be out of the hotel. Guests who wanted to stay late could stash their luggage in the Green Room after they check out of their rooms so they wouldn't feel rushed and stressed.
And I realize this lovely con would cost a lot to put on, what with the cost of the hotel, the advertising, the prizes, printing for advertising, the guest fees and expenses, the supplies and food for the Green Room, the Tea Room, the Staff Room, the cost of the website and webmistress, the T-shirts, the insurance, the hospitality parties at other cons, and the fact that I'd like to pay all the chair heads something other than food and membership!
I reckon, doing it the way I'd like to do it, that it would cost between $60,000 and $100,000 to do it my way. I would need a minimum of 2,500 paying attendees (advance registration of $20, with the price rising to $45 at the door) so I'd need a HUGE hotel or charge more or rely on sponsors and advertisers because I doubt I could attract more than 1,000 people to OKC for a con.
Of course, I've padded the expenses a lot - paying the con chairs, spending thousands on advertising instead of hundreds, and paying the guests and all those rooms... I could probably bare bones it down by using only 4 rooms for programming, eliminate the Mysterium (sigh), and use free space for the Promenade, combine Con Ops and Security and the Staff room, and not pay the con department heads, and maybe, with strategic planning and strong sponsors, I could get the costs down to nearly half that so I could maybe do a con like this with 1,000 attendees and make expenses.
A thousand attendees would support a decent sized mercantile, especially if we jury in the merchants to make sure we have an appealing variety of merchandise available - and the attendees are willing to open their pocketbooks once they get there!
I'd better get to saving. And buying lottery tickets couldn't hurt.