Me!! We fly in on Wed a.m. & fly out on Sat a.m. What a time you'll have. You can go to the registration floor & look out the bubble windows to get an overall view of most of the vendor floor but not the quilts. There have been meet ups in the past but I've never gone - don't want to miss anything on the floor or seeing the quilts. There is a food court that serves several kinds of food - barbque, salads, sandwiches, etc - but it is pricey - about $10 for lunch, incl drink. The up side is it is convenient & doesn't take too long. Lots of choices & plenty of room. Lots of people brown bag it & bring their own water bottles & use the food court for convenience. There's also kiosks up on the 3rd floor (where the classes are held) that are much less crowded but priced the same. Depending on where you stay, there is a shuttle from the hotel to the convention that the city operates for free. Runs till 7 p.m. (verify that time) every nite & IMHO is the best way to get around. Nothing like door to door transportation. Carry as little as possible & wear comfy shoes. I take a tote bag & only essentials - credit card, cash, phone, etc - & the program you'll get when you register. The floor is easy to get around & we study the program w/floor layout & vendor listings so we can easily find who/what we're looking for w/o wasting time & energy.
This is prob too much info but it was worth it when I went the first time 5 yrs ago. Go every year now & also to Paducah. Hope you have a wonderful first festival! Have fun, shop til you drop & then shop some more. I'll be glad to answer any other questions but they will be strictly from my point of view.
PS - you can go to the website & locate a list of vendors that might be helpful too.