My first DAC was DAC32, San Francisco Moscone Center, 1995. If you can remember this far back, this was when the main DAC conference party was cool, and there was no Denali party...
It was 2 years after I had finished my masters' degree, the first large conference I had been to. I was working for a small (30-person) startup in the UK.
We didn't know *anything* - one of the other guys had been a previous year, but that's all the experience we had. Things were a little more formal then, especially in the UK (everyone wore a shirt & tie to the office every day) so I brought my suit and bought a new pair of shoes for the occasion.
I ended up in some hotel that had no air conditioning and that was not on the DAC shuttle route, and which required walking through the somewhat dangerous "tenderloin" area of San Francisco to get to the Moscone center. I was hot all the time, and boy, did my feet hurt after that week!
But... it was a great show. I spent most of my time in the academic sessions that year and the following year started hawking our FPGA place&route software in the exhibition hall between sessions - despite not having a booth or even a demo suite.
I've been to all the DACs since (might have missed one... New Orleans '99 I think)
Long live DAC!