I’ve been thinking. People keep asking me what I want to focus on while I’m in graduate school. I have a lot of ideas. But there’s one I’ve been thinking about a little more than the others: conventions and costuming. Which has me thinking about my own experiences with conventions and how it has changed over the years.

You hear about the days before SDCC became SDCC. You hear that slight wistfullness in people’s voices when they do. You go to smaller conventions that are proud to be small and more intimate, unlike DragonCon.

I finally get it. So many people go to conventions to meet famous people. To meet actors and musicians and authors and artists. That used to be what I would get excited about. But that can involve being in line for the same time as a panel, if not longer. I started to realize that I was missing out on so much. Then I went to MarCon. That showed me that you don’t have to spend half the convention in line to enjoy it. It showed me that conventions are equally about hanging out with fellow fans and geeks, talking about the things that we love.

So this year for DragonCon, I’m taking a new approach to what panels I go to. I’m still going to go to a few panels with guests. How can I resist going to a panel with Big Bird and Oscar or one with the Seventh and Eighth Doctors? But I think I’m going to focus more on the panels where it’s just us fans talking about what we love. It’s going to be a new experience for me. I’m really looking forward to it.

MARcon 49

Picture borrowed from U.S.S. Columbus N.C.C. 72401.

Marcon (Multiple Alternative Realities Convention), the Midwest’s Premiere Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention, is the most fun you can have in a year, packed into a single weekend.

Marcon was started in 1966 and was held in a Holiday Inn in Toledo. It was simply a planning session for the 1966 Cleveland Worldcon (TriCon). It has continued as a fan run convention every year since. It has moved from March (MARch+Con) through April and landed in May on Memorial Day Weekend. In 2012 Marcon moved to Easter weekend, landing on a different date each year as it begins to hold down it’s new time.

That is from Marcon’s website. I figure it explains things best.

This year was the first time I’ve been able to go to Marcon since I found out about it. For the past two years it was held over Easter weekend, which didn’t work for me. I had been wanting to check it out and so I registered as soon as I could, before I really knew anything about it.

Very smart move.

When they started posting what might be happening at the con, I was so excited. As we drew closer to the convention and panel topics were set, I found myself changing up what costumes I had planned to bring to fit the panel topics. It was so much fun. The diversity of the topics reminded me a lot of Dragon*Con, which simply helped me get even more excited.

Finally it was time for the convention. It was a very different experience from any convention I had ever been to.
Dragon*Con is huge. 5 host hotels, over 50,000 people. Tons of guests. 4 official days and 1 pre-con day. Costumes everywhere.
Ohayocon is smaller than Dragon*Con, but just as crowded. 3 days. Costumes everywhere, but with more of an anime and Homestuck focus.

Marcon is so different. There aren’t as many people attending, but that is not a bad thing. That simply means that everyone who is there is there for the panels and to interact with fellow fans. I saw many people over and over again, which was really nice. The panels were amazing. They ranged in topic from Doctor Who and Babylon 5 and Star Trek to The Dresden Files and Calvin and Hobbes. During the panels the panelists and audience members were able to have wonderful, sometimes really in depth, discussions about the topic. There was a lot of interaction as well as respect.

There were fewer elaborate costumes. But it’s a science fiction convention, so I wasn’t surprised. But I did like it. It felt like the people who were in costume were like me: wearing a costume to show their love of a character or show. Definitely different than Ohayocon and Dragon*Con.

Marcon logo

I am really looking forward to next year’s Marcon. It is going to be an all-out bash celebrating the 50th Marcon. But I’m mostly looking forward to having that wonderful weekend around fellow fans again and hopefully seeing friends that I’ll be making over the course of the next year!