Have you ever found yourself being incredibly interested in something to the point where it’s all you can talk about? Your favorite character from a TV show naturally comes up in your conversations. That one brand that makes the purple stone bowls that don’t chip becomes your favorite dish to eat out of. Or maybe it’s a shoe brand that always comes out with the most innovative designs. There are a variety of things that we find ourselves drawn to and usually, there are other people who find themselves drawn to them too. That’s where community and FanCons comes into play and you have found a group of people who have the same interest as you.
FanCons are conventions held for the fans of a particular topic. The most popular FanCon happens to be the San Diego Comic Con but there are a plethora of other FanCons you can attend. You don’t even have to be a fan of that topic to go. It can just be a fun experience to participate in whether you are a fanatic or a casual enjoyer.
What is A FanCon Like?
Attending a FanCon provides you with the opportunity to immerse yourself in a universe solely centered around a specific topic. That topic can be comic books, reality TV or even vintage clothing. I found that most FanCons are centered around media like TV shows, anime and movies. The energy of walking into a buzzing room filled with people brimming with excitement to see their favorite actors, listen in on expert discussions or get new merchandise is a one-of-a-kind experience. Some of these events will have hundreds of thousands of attendees, some in cosplay portraying their favorite characters and others in just everyday clothing. Dressing up isn’t a requirement.
FanCon events can be of different sizes. Some occupy multiple convention spaces while others might just consist of one room. Whether it’s a small or large space, you can usually expect there to be an event map that tells you everything you need to know along with a schedule. Taking a look at the schedule can help keep you from getting overwhelmed with all of the different exhibits, panels and meet and greets. FanCons are jam-packed with a variety of events and activities that can sometimes span multiple days. It’s very easy to get lost in the excitement of it all while trying to attend everything, but it’s good to take a step back and figure out what you want to see most before jumping in head first. That way you can take in and enjoy what you are experiencing instead of just rushing around and not being present.
Different types of tickets are often sold to accommodate different levels of participation and interest. Looking to go every day so you can experience each panel discussion? They have tickets for that. Are you more of a casual fan? Check out single-day tickets. VIP experiences and add-ons usually cost extra if you are looking for a more customized and in-depth experience.
You Don’t Have To Be a Fan to Have Fun at a FanCon
I went to 2 of my first FanCons recently, neither of which I had an overflowing interest in the focused topics but I enjoyed both. I went to ThriftCon which is a convention all about thrifting so they had different vendors and thrift and vintage shops. It was mostly clothing but there were also a few skateboard shops, posters and shoes as well. To be honest with you, I was expecting all kinds of vendors because you can find all kinds of things in a thrift shop. I was expecting to see a diverse range in clothing of course, but also jewelry, handbags, furniture, antiques and books. That’s where walking into an experience with a blank slate comes in handy. It’s only natural to have expectations of highly-anticipated events. Reading the information on the website about what to look forward to and hearing other accounts from previous attendees can paint a picture in our heads before having experienced the FanCon ourselves. Sometimes, going into it to have fun and enjoy yourself is a good starting point.
The 2nd FanCon I went to was BravoCon which was a bigger affair. They had different panels and VIP experiences with reality TV stars from shows across the Bravo universe. There were tons of photo opportunities and well-designed setups to take pictures in as well as a whole room for shopping if you wanted to get merchandising or try out one of the celeb products. I thought it was a really cute and on-brand event. Despite not watching a Bravo show in years, I had a great time. I took pictures, sat in on a few panels and took home some freebies. My absolute favorite part was the set designs. They were beautifully done. The next FanCon I would like to go to is the San Diego Comic-Con. One thing I’ve learned in the art of getting tickets is to do your research beforehand. The San Diego Comic-Con is the largest fan convention held in the United States so you can only imagine how many people are trying to get tickets. Whether it’s this event or a smaller one like ThriftCon, make sure you have an understanding of how they release tickets so that you can grab yours when you can. Subscribing to their social media channels or newsletters often provides useful information about tickets and the event itself.
Different Fandom Events to Experience
There are other FanCons or Fan Expos you may find an interest in attending. Some are pretty random whereas others are a lot more focused on the topic at hand. Check these out:
- San Diego ComicCon – largest comic convention in the United States
- ThriftCon – a convention for thrifted and vintage clothing and other various items
- BravoCon – a convention for all things the Bavo Channel
- Nostalgia Con – 90s to early 200s themed event
- KCon – the world’s largest celebration of Korean culture and music
- Star Wars Celebration – the ultimate Star Wars Fan experience
- Fan Expos – held in different cities across the US, celebrating all things pop culture
- D23 Expo – celebrating all things Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel
- Awesome Con – a comic con held in Washington DC, focusing on comics, movies, television, toys and games
- Dragon Con – multi-media and pop culture convention focusing on science, art, movies, literature and more
Header Photo by Daniel Lombraña González