Conventions: The Pro's and CONS
So you want to go to a Con. Do you live on the West Coast? Good news, nearly every major Convention is located in either Washington or California. Do you live on the East Coast? (Big mistake buddy) your options are more limited, but all hope is not lost! Fan Conventions have actually been around since the 1930's! Who knew? So the market is saturated with nearly hundreds of options for anyone from Cosplayers to Live-Streamers, and everything in between.
So how do you pick the Con for you? We'll start with West Coast (best Coast) and move our way across the country. Seattle: Coffee, Nirvana, and Fan Conventions? While Washington is better known for apples, mountains, and football Go Hawks! Seattle actually hosts some of the most popular and highly attended Conventions in the country. PAX West, Emerald City Comic-Con, and Sakura-Con just to name a few.
The biggest of these is undoubtedly PAX West.
Originally named PAX Prime, PAX West started in 2004 with less than 3,500 people in attendance. Described as a, 'Celebration of Gamer Culture' PAX West now expects well over 100,000 attendees every year. With concerts, panels, tournaments, speeches, and booths for Developers and Publishers there's no shortage of content or entertainment for fans. Held at the Washington State Convention Center in late January, PAX West continues to grow more extravagant each passing year with tickets selling out weeks in advance. So book your flight and hotel early, because PAX West is a prime target for most convention goers.
Let's start moving down the West Coast to California where things start to get interesting. San Diego Comic-Con, Twitch Con, Anime Expo, Wonder Con, and literally dozens more. If you live near Cali and you're looking for Con's to attend then you've hit a gold mine.
While there are several honorable mentions, Twitch Con is the fastest growing
Twitch Con is the newest Convention on the list, having only been formed since 2015. With 25,000 people in attendance in its opening year, it grew to 35,000 in 2016, and is projected to see larger growth in 2017. Twitch.tv originated as Justin.tv in 2007, eventually splitting off into the gaming platform we know and love in 2011. Twitch boasts over 35 million views per month making it a leader in the live-stream industry, and an obvious choice for a fan convention. Originally held in San Francisco the classic Twitch purple is invading Long Beach California this year October 20th-22nd. Make sure to keep an eye out for tickets to go on sale in the upcoming weeks, as the announcement always comes as a surprise.
While missing the West Coast Con's would be a mistake for any dedicated Convention-goer, East Coast has its fair share of Con's for every interest. Liberty City Anime Con, Nickel City Con, Zenkaikon, Steampunk World's Fair, and Colossalcon all host huge turn outs with incredible displays and special guests galore.
If you're looking for a combination of genre's, Dragon Con may be the Con for you
Starting in 1987 Dragon Con has been going strong for 30 years. Held in Atlanta Georgia in early September Dragon Con combines a wide range of fandom's and genre's into one massive Convention. Known for the quality Cosplays and Costumes Dragon Con encourages creativity with their contests and parades, featuring their Masquerade which is one of the longest-standing costume contents of any Convention. With over 60,000 attendees in 2014 Dragon Con has continued to grow with every passing year. Keep on the lookout for your favorite celebrities walking the halls or mingling at the local bars after hours as they've been known to do over the years.
Any list of Con's would be pointless without mentioning New York Comic Con
Dating back to 2006 NY Comic Con is now the largest Pop-Culture Convention on the East Coast boasting over 185,000 attendees in 2016. Offering content on video games, movies, television, graphic novel, anime, and much more NY Comic Con is the second largest Pop-Culture Convention in the United States and is expected to continue to grow. Held in early October in Midtown Manhattan NY Comic Con is in the heart of New York City, offering a unique experience to any travelers looking for a Con Vacation. NYCC continuously brings in huge star power with guest celebrities, informative panels, popular artists, creative cosplayers, and more every year. While the sheer number of people that attend might be off-putting for some, everyone should experience NYCC at least once.
Didn't see your favorite Con on this list? That's because there's literally just too many to name. No matter where you live in the US or the world for that matter, there is a Con just for you. Fan Conventions have always been about the passion behind Fan Bases. Whether it's video games, cosplay, Sci-Fi, or Comic Books Conventions are all about supporting our favorites and sharing the experience with new friends. So if you're on the fence about Conventions find the Con that works the best for you. Pack your bags, load up the car, and head to the nearest Con for a life-changing experience you'll never forget.