For 2024, the in-person KansasFest meeting will be held at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), July 16-21, followed by the virtual meeting July 27-28.

This document outlines what does (and mostly doesn’t) change about the event, the rationale and process leading to our choice of UIS, and general information about the facilities, surrounding area, and getting there and back.


  • When and where is KansasFest 2024?
    • KansasFest 2024 will be held from Tuesday July 16 through Sunday July 21, at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), in Springfield, IL. Early arrival registration will be available for those who wish to arrive on Monday July 15.
  • Wait, wasn’t KansasFest in Kansas City? Why is KansasFest now in Springfield?
  • Shouldn’t it be, I don’t know, IllinoisFest or something now?
    • KansasFest has been in Missouri up to now.
    • And no, KansasFest will retain its name. It is a name recognized in the community, and it has a valuable history. More would be lost than would be gained by changing the name.
  • Will there still be a virtual component if I can’t make the trip?
    • Yes. Presentations given at the in-person event will be recorded. On July 27-28, 2024 (the weekend following the in-person event), a virtual event (“A24eVR”) will be held, which will include both the presentations presented at UIS (most with Q&A sessions at the virtual event) and virtual-exclusive presentations given by participants from all over the world. People are welcome to participate in both events, or just one of them.
  • What is Springfield like?
    • Springfield is a significantly smaller city than Kansas City. The UIS campus is slightly isolated from the city by fields.
    • For more detail: Overview
  • How can I get to UIS?
    • If driving, do what your GPS tells you to do. If flying, it is worth seeing whether flying to SPI (the local airport) is viable, as that puts you 20 minutes from campus. It is more likely that you will want to fly into and out of St. Louis (STL). This is a 90-minute drive from campus, and we will be working to coordinate some ridesharing options to get people from and to STL if you are not renting a car there. O’Hare (ORD) is also an option, but is a 3 hour drive from campus.
    • For more detail: Getting There
  • Where can I park?
    • There will be parking near the dorm. We will collect information on whether you intend to drive as part of the registration process.
    • For more detail: Being There
  • What are the facilities like?
  • Is there still going to be a Garage Giveaway?
  • How are you addressing COVID risk?
    • In light of the disastrously high levels of COVID at KansasFest 2023, we have taken several steps to avoid a repeat of last year’s outcome. The new venue itself has good air ventilation and air scrubbers, reducing risk significantly compared to last year. We will test everyone before allowing entry. Should someone test positive during the week, they must leave the venue at that point, and precautionary measures will then be implemented for everyone else, including a masking requirement. While up-to-date vaccination is not strictly required, anyone who cannot show proof of up-to-date vaccination will be required to test daily throughout the event.
    • For the health of our attendees, we intend to be strict about this policy, and urge understanding and cooperation. To that end, attendees should arrive having already considered what they will do if they unexpectedly test positive for COVID and are unable to attend or must leave the venue early. Partial/full refunds will generally be available under such circumstances, but remaining on-site after a positive test will not be an option.
    • For more specifics: Health/COVID policy
  • How will we eat?
    • The student center has a dining hall available 8am-3pm. Unlike previous years, meals at the student center are not included in registration. This enables attendees to pay only for what they actually eat. Dinner will be handled through a combination of ordering food in (e.g., pizza night) and group outings to local restaurants.
    • For more detail: Dining
  • How much will this cost?
    • Our current estimated registration cost will be $510/person in a single room, $455/person in a double room. Other options such as conference-only (no room) and room-only (no conference) will continue to be available. Registration prices will include few or no meals, so plan for some additional costs for meals.
    • For more detail: Estimated Cost
  • How was the decision to move to UIS made?
    • The search for new venue options has been underway since April 2023. The committee identified what challenges Rockhurst posed, and what the requirements and priorities for an alternative venue would be. Several venues were investigated; UIS had emerged as the front-runner by December, and in February we sent a scout to visit in person, gather information, and look for any deal-breakers. We then assembled a medium-sized focus group and surveyed their willingness to attend at each venue and their view on whether this move should be undertaken. We took their concerns and views into account, and in March the committee voted to move KansasFest 2024 to UIS.
    • For more detail: Selection Process

Goals for this Venue Change

KansasFest has its origins in the 1989 A2-Central developers conference, held at Avila College (later Avila University) in Kansas City, Missouri, run from 1989 to 1994 by Resource Central, and then from 1995 onward by an independent organizing committee. KansasFest remained at Avila for 16 years, and then in 2005 moved to Rockhurst University (also in Kansas City), where it remained for the next 17 meetings (over a span of 19 years, skipping 2020-2021).

Rockhurst University has been very good to KansasFest during its time there, and the committee sincerely appreciates the degree to which they have assisted and accommodated KansasFest through those years. Still, there are a number of things that made the venue less than ideal. In general, these are things Rockhurst does not have the ability to improve for us, but we continue to appreciate what they’ve done for us over the years.

The challenges we faced at Rockhurst include:

  • Accessibility: Particularly as our attendees advance in age, the lack of an elevator and the need to navigate several flights of stairs between the rooms, the presentation room, and the dining facility becomes increasingly important. Corcoran Hall lacks ramps and ADA-compliant restrooms, and Rockhurst does not have other dorms suitable for the meeting (common area, integrated presentation room).
  • Inclusiveness: We have heard from numerous past attendees that Missouri state laws are not inclusive towards LGBTQ+ individuals. We strive to enable all Apple II fans to feel welcome and safe traveling to KansasFest.
  • Comfort: Corcoran Hall is old. Hot water and air conditioning are inconsistent. Restrooms are not private. Our presentation room is often warm and cramped.
  • Food Quality: On-campus food quality is variable, with limited options.
  • Network Quality: The WiFi network is consistently unstable and difficult, with no wired options which limit on-site streaming into or out of the venue. 

The goal in our change of venue was to address these issues in order to accommodate our group’s evolving needs for the foreseeable future.

Further details about the process and considerations that led us to signing the contract with UIS are included in the Selection Process section below.

Overview of UIS and Springfield

UIS is a public university 6 miles southeast of Springfield, IL and about 2 miles away from the nearest shopping center. The university has about 4000 students and capacity for 1100 residents. For comparison, Rockhurst has about 3000 students, but UIS is about 13 times physically larger by land area than Rockhurst. Springfield is the capital of Illinois, and the region has a population of about 208,000. For comparison, Kansas City has a population of about 508,000, within a metropolitan area of about 2.4 million. Springfield is a significantly smaller city. The campus is relatively isolated from the city as well.

The city has a variety of shopping (including a nearby Walmart) and restaurants. Google Maps lists many options, and the planning committee and attendees would need to identify the best choices and to establish new traditions. As we approach the 2024 meeting, we will continue to investigate the area and we encourage suggestions.

  • While there is no large arcade as close to UIS as the Up-Down, Arcadia is moderately accessible (50 minute drive) and impressive-looking (with more arcade games and significantly more pinball than Up-Down). Dumb Records has a comparatively small arcade and pinball room but is only a 13 minute drive. And of course on campus, all manner of Apple II games will be available.
  • While there is a local Radio Shack, there seems to be nothing quite comparable to Micro Center (apart from a Micro Center 3 hours away). We will be following up with locals about where they get electronics equipment.
  • Springfield is just overall a smaller host city than Kansas City was, but we also consider KansasFest to be mostly about KansasFest and less about a vacation to the host city. This is nevertheless a difference between our old and new venues.

At Rockhurst, we have had some issues with cars being broken into during the event (not many, but more than zero), and the Springfield campus should reduce this risk. First, while Springfield’s overall crime statistics are poor, they are significantly better than Kansas City’s. Second, the campus is separated from the main part of the city by some distance, and surrounded by fields, meaning that it is more insulated from the city. Overall, the general safety level at UIS is a step up, even if not as far up as would have been ideal.

Campus map:

Getting There

Springfield has a small airport (SPI), which is served by American Airlines, Allegiant, and Breeze. Initial investigations of air travel options suggest that the best option for most attendees who are flying (in terms of cost, schedule, and availability of non-stop flights) would be to fly into and out of St. Louis (STL). STL is about a 90-minute drive, and the committee will be coordinating rideshares with those planning to rent a car at the airport, as well as some type of shuttle arrangement. Further details on this will be forthcoming.

For those driving, Springfield is, like Kansas City, close to the center of the country. Kansas City is about 4 hours east and slightly south of the geographic center. Whether by coincidence or design, this made KansasFest nearly equally (in)convenient to reach from each edge of  the country when traveling by road. The Springfield location mostly preserves this property; Springfield is about 8 hours directly east of the geographic center, and as a result does not generally increase driving time from anywhere by more than 4 hours (nor reduce driving time by more than 4 hours). Google Maps estimates for cities around the edge of the country are below, with the difference compared to Kansas City in parentheses.

  • 31 hours from Seattle (+3)
  • 29 hours from LA (+4)
  • 14 hours from Houston (+2.5)
  • 18 hours from Boston (-4)
  • 19 hours from Miami (-2.5)
  • 8 hours from Minneapolis (-1)

Being There

KansasFest will use Lincoln Residence Hall in 2024, and Founders Residence Hall in other years, alternating between buildings to accommodate the campus maintenance schedule. Room arrangement is identical. Each pair of double-occupancy rooms forms a “pod” with a dedicated bathroom. The bathroom includes a single toilet stall, single shower with curtain, and sink. All showers are sufficiently large to accommodate a shower stool. Up to four people would share the bathroom with the option to lock the exterior door for private use. We will also try to group single rooms together, in which case you would be sharing the bathroom with just one other person. The rooms themselves contain beds, desks, and storage furniture similar to Rockhurst. Each room has a separate thermostat, window, WiFi access, and wired Ethernet. The buildings have several lounges, furnished lobby, outdoor tables, laundry, and elevators. See the UIS Website for floor plans and virtual tours.

The entire campus is flat, and there are no required stairs. Lincoln Hall contains a large presentation room seating 100 people. In years when we are in Founders Hall (not 2024), attendees would walk to the adjacent building for presentations. Parking is available across the street in a surface lot. While the parking is not gated, the university is located well away from residential areas and extraneous traffic. Overall, the campus is well maintained, and the buildings are newer than Rockhurst.

The presentation room has projection and sound equipment built in. However, KansasFest owns the projection equipment we have used in past years, and would still have it available for projecting a demo computer’s display onto a separate screen. We will have exclusive access to the presentation space for the duration of the event, and it can be locked and unlocked with a key we will have.


Breakfast and lunch are available in the Student Union about a 5 minute (0.2 mile) walk one-way from the residence hall. The trip is flat with no steps or hills. We are investigating options for a golf cart or car to assist with transportation.

Your registration cost includes catered dinner on Wednesday and Thursday, the Friday pizza banquet, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and the conference. The price does not include other meals (the dining hall is open weekdays for breakfast and lunch but is not included in our price).

During the site visit, Martin D. ate one meal in the UIS dining hall and found food quality better than at Rockhurst, but it is unclear how summer offerings will compare.

Health/COVID policy

Please see Health Policy.

The Garage Giveaway

KansasFest as an organization has undertaken a great many rescue operations to save Apple II equipment from being recycled, and several community members have donated their collections to KansasFest as well. The goal of gathering these machines and software has always been to get them back into the community, into the hands of people who would appreciate and use them. This has been accomplished through the “Garage Giveaway” event at KansasFest every year.

Even in the new venue, this tradition will continue. As most attendees are aware, KansasFest stores this equipment in the Kansas City metro area, and so the logistics of getting it to KansasFest in its new location are more complicated. But the Garage Giveaway will continue to be a major feature of the KansasFest meeting, even at our new location. The committee is still deciding specifics of how it will work in the new space, but the redistribution of these rescued and donated items will continue.

Pros and Cons

UIS offers some advantages:

  • Semi-private bathrooms
  • Newer buildings
  • Wired Internet
  • Elevators, ADA accessible rooms, and flat campus
  • Nicer presentation room
  • Illinois state laws are more inclusive than those in Missouri

UIS offer some disadvantages:

  • More distant airport
  • No dinners from campus dining (vs. the two we generally have at Rockhurst)
  • Added effort the first year to learn the area, shopping, restaurants, and evolve traditions
  • More expensive

Estimated Cost

Single occupancy room: $510/person (no meals)

Double occupancy room: $455/person (no meals)

The price includes room with furnishings, rental linens (pillow, sheets, and towels), shower curtain, toilet paper, parking for up to one vehicle, wireless and wired Internet, the Friday pizza banquet, and the conference. The price does not include meals, campus gym use, soap/shampoo or other personal items, or transportation (although carpools are encouraged). 

For meals, the UIS cafeteria is open for breakfast and lunch. Rather than including meals in the registration cost, we are planning on having each attendee pay for their own cafeteria meals. For dinners, we anticipate having a mix of catered meals (such as the pizza party) as well as meals out at local restaurants. If we decide to include a few catered meals, this could increase the above registration cost.

For comparison, Rockhurst registration for 2023 was:

Single occupancy (with meals): $535/person

Double occupancy (with meals): $460/person

Selection Process

The process of selecting a new venue for the 2024 meeting has been underway since April 2023. Our priorities for venues included: upgraded and accessible facilities without required stairs, an environment conducive to an event like KansasFest (common areas, presentation areas, tolerance for activities like soldering workshops and the Garage Giveaway), an inclusive surrounding environment that potential attendees will feel comfortable traveling to, reasonable cost, and a geographically central location.

Ultimately these priorities all focus on inclusivity, ensuring as much as possible that everyone in the Apple II community will be able, willing, and comfortable to attend. Many of the challenges at Rockhurst were limiting that inclusivity. For example, the ubiquitous and crucial stairs.

Concerning cost: Our aim was to keep the cost comparable, so that those who were not already priced out of attending at Rockhurst would not be priced out of attending at the new location. This ruled out hotels and conference centers.

Concerning geographic location: Kansas City happens to be quite near the geographic center of the continental US, making it equally (in)accessible from each coast, but this positioning has historically enabled the broadest inclusion of attendees from all over the US. Shifting to either coast would dramatically increase the travel time driving from the other, to the point where many attendees would no longer find it viable to drive. Moreover, staying near Kansas City retains access to KansasFest’s storage. A very large amount of equipment is stored there. This equipment is important to the Apple II community and to the KansasFest traditions that put these machines and software back into the community. 

Concerning an inclusive surrounding environment: We have heard from numerous past attendees that the legal environment in Missouri has grown increasingly problematic for some members of our community, to the point where several were no longer willing to travel there. We prioritized choosing a venue that all in our community would be comfortable traveling to. Various online resources that track state laws, as they pertain to the LGBTQ+ and transgender population, rate Missouri very negatively (lgbtmap, Wikipedia, erininthemorning). We prioritized finding a venue that would not leave these attendees feeling unwelcome or at risk while attending KansasFest. We aimed to find a location where all would be comfortable to visit. This was not a political consideration, and KansasFest is not a political organization. In fact, we reiterate our general stance that politics should be left at the door to the greatest extent possible; certainly all Apple II enthusiasts should feel welcome at KansasFest regardless of their political beliefs. This priority was about enabling all of our valued community members to feel comfortable attending the event. Given that we were considering alternative venues in the first place, we took this to be an important property a new venue should have.

Finally, it was important that the facilities in general be an upgrade. At Rockhurst, the restroom and shower configuration, the only-barely-adequateness of the mattresses, the general unreliability of the food choices and air conditioning and hot water and internet connectivity—all together are turn-offs, and are known to cause people to hesitate to attend. While there is value in the camaraderie born of shared trauma, we could see that since 2018, people were increasingly choosing off-campus options instead of Corcoran. And some no doubt simply stayed away altogether because Corcoran seemed too unappealing. This provides a tension with the cost consideration as well, so we sought to balance these.

The committee started serious discussion of moving in April 2023, and shortly afterwards there was some public discussion of venue options and issues in the AppleIIinfinitum Slack workspace. The committee surveyed possible options in terms of our requirements and priorities. Campuses that were viable enough to be considered more carefully included McKendree University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, University of Illinois Springfield, Wichita State University, the University of Denver, and the Colorado School of Mines. We initiated contact with UIS at that time. All venues had pros and cons, but as information accumulated from UIS, it became the front-runner. By December we had worked out most of the expected cost structure and facilities details at UIS, and in February we sent a member of the committee out to do a site visit and gather in-person information.

We then gathered a medium-sized focus group of 30 people, to get a representative sense (in a manageable way) of community sentiment and concerns about this proposed move. The focus group included long-time KansasFest attendees, some relatively new attendees, and some who had attended only virtually. We presented them with the venue information, travel challenges, cost estimates, and rationales for moving. We asked them whether they would consider attending in each of the potential venues, what their concerns/ideas might be, and whether they thought we ought to move to UIS. The responses were quite clear. Nobody said they would attend at Rockhurst but not at UIS while several said they’d attend only at UIS. Well over half said they’d go wherever KansasFest is, and nearly everyone ranked moving to UIS at neutral or above, with over 60% above neutral. This pattern held even when restricted to long-time attendees, new attendees, and yet-to-attendees; every category’s average was above neutral on moving to UIS. Our focus group also raised helpful concerns and ideas that we have incorporated into this document.

With all this information in hand, the committee voted in early March to move KansasFest to UIS in 2024.