The cons are coming! Ten years ago, the fan con held a small place in our cultural psyche. Industry folks were aware of San Diego’s Comic Con and maybe one or two others. But that has changed.
“Each year, the fan convention calendar has gotten more and more crowded,” writes Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, in a blog post for the events company Eventbrite. According to Salkowitz, there are now two or more large regional events every weekend.
In 2015, we saw super cons like San Diego and New York Comic Cons break records in attendance. We’re all nerds now. The beautiful thing about fan cons in 2016 is you no longer need to travel across the country to see your favorite cult stars. Fan cons are breaking out all over the map. We’ve highlighted a few favorites happening in our neck of the woods.
Cosplays Guardians of the Galaxy, Dragon Con, 2013, WikiCommons
Sep. 2 - 5, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (and other Atlanta hotels)
Dragon Con is a bucket-list experience for any Atlanta resident. Last year’s attendance was just over 70,000 and this year’s con is the 30th anniversary of the event, so expect an even bigger party. The Annual Dragon Con Parade is a fan favorite. It’s essentially a march through town featuring conference attendees decked out in their amazing, often homemade, costumes paying tribute to everything from Star Wars to Tarantino to the Walking Dead.
Photo courtesy of Awesome Con Facebook, from 2014 convention
June 3 - 5, 2016 at the Washington Convention Center
There’s a term used in D.C. called “wonk.” It used in political and government circles to describe someone who’s a policy nerd. Awesome Con is a festival for pop culture wonks. This year’s guests include director Kevin Smith (Mallrats, Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), Charles Martinet (the voice of Mario in Nintendo’s flagship videogame franchise), and actress Morena Baccarin (Homeland, Deadpool).
Actor Billy Boyd (Pippin from the Lord of the Rings series) meets with fans, Facebook, MegaCon, 2013
May 26 - 29, 2016 at the Orange County Convention Center
Orlando’s MegaCon features a cosplay masquerade (read, original costume contest); more 500 retailers specializing in comics, anime, gaming, science fiction, and horror; panels with writers and actors, workshops, seminars, and opportunities to meet your favorite stars. This year, the legendary creator of Spider-Man, Stan Lee, will be in the house.
Photo courtesy of Brickuniverse.org
April 2 - 3, 2016 at the Raleigh Convention Center
This one’s a little different. Instead of celebrating fantasy worlds, BrickUniverse is about creating them. It’s a two-day tribute to LEGOs.
The expo features collaborative LEGO displays, building zones, and large-scale LEGO models. At the Brick Print Shop, you can even create a custom minifigure of yourself and have your name printed on LEGO bricks.
Texas Frightmare Weekend
April 29 - May 1, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency DFW
Texas Frightmare Weekend refers to itself as “The Southwest’s Premier Horror Convention.” The weekend is a rush of celebrity appearances, autograph signings, screenings, exclusive parties, and horror memorabilia vendors from all over the country.
This year’s event is welcoming guests George Romero (creator of Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies, Dawn of the Dead), Robert Englund (creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street Saga, Phantom of the Opera), and Kane Hodder (actor who played Jason in the Friday the 13th film series).
Planning to attend one of these fan cons? Did we leave out one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!