Road2Gold

Hit the road with me as I aim for gold

10 Things You Should Know Before Going to Your First Con

So, friend, you have decided to head to your first con. That means you listened to my advice. Good job.

What? You’re nervous? You’re not sure how to prepare? Fret not, amigo! You will be just fine.

Here are some things you should know before attending your first convention:

1. Know what kind of convention you’re going to.

Before anything else, you must understand what kind of convention you are about to head to. It’s important because every con is different. Check out a few pictures or forums from last year’s con to get an idea of the expectations. Don’t forget to ask friends. Friends are always there to tell you what to bring, what to wear, etc.

2. You don’t have to cosplay.

Seriously, no one is going to judge you if you don’t cosplay. Especially campanimeyear1at bigger cons, people dress comfortably because wearing a gown or holding a giant sword in large crowds is not only annoying, but you or someone else could get injured or stabbed or stepped on.

I didn’t cosplay to my first con and I loved it. Did I feel out of place-ish? Kind of. Did I have fun? YES. Were there others not in costume?Absolutely! It’s all good, fam! Dress however you’d like!

3. Know the weapons policy.

This is a really important one. If you are cosplaying, and your costume has a potentially

conbust11

Swords!

dangerous or fake prop, know the weapons policy of the convention before you show up with your lightsaber. The weapons policy is usually found in the FAQ or Cosplay section of the con’s website. If you can’t find it, ask a friend. You don’t want to get stuck in a 2-hour weapon’s check line because you brought your foam sword instead of leaving it in the car.

4. Bring food.

I cannot stress this enough. Bring snacks. You are going to miss them. Sometimes they prohibit outside food, but sometimes they don’t. When you want to get your first and only bite to eat at the con and it’s $4 for a water, $7.50 for gross empty mozzarella sticks, and $8 for a lousy tuna sandwich, you’re going to wish you packed a granola bar in your bag.

5. Bring cash.

This is also important, because if you do not have cash, you will be bored. At bigger cons, tshirt.jpgsome panels and tournaments require an entry fee. Also, when meeting guests or celebrities, getting an autograph or a picture with the star can usually cost anywhere from $30-$200 (depending on who it is)!

Plus, if you see a T-Shirt or any other piece of merch that you find cool, and you think, “I NEED THIS NOW!” and you blew all your cash on empty mozzarella sticks and parking, you are going to kick yourself.

Merch ain’t cheap. Bring yer dough.

6. Take pictures, but try to ask first.

I know you are an upstanding individual who won’t take creepy photos of random people in cosplay without their permission, but some people do and it’s awkward. So, whoever is reading this: My gosh, man, don’t take pictures of people without asking!

Also, you’re going to want to treasure these memories forever. So go on! If you see a really cool cosplay, ask your friend to take a pic with the two of you and put it in a photo album.

7. Bring a friend.

kelmeWhen you’re at a con, never go by yourself. If you do, try to make new friends while you are there. Why? Because meandering around a convention without anyone to talk to, play games with, go to panels with, take pictures with, or cosplay with just isn’t fun! Trust me. I went to PAX alone and I didn’t last ten minutes by myself.

If you are cosplaying, when someone asks for a photo, you do not want to leave your bag unattended on the ground. That’s what friends are for: Holding stuff. (Totally kidding, but it’s definitely a plus.)

8. Bring a backpack.

Not a purse, not a little wallet, not even your deep-dish man pockets that can carry everything under the sun. Bring a good-sized bag to carry all the wonderful stuff you need and want. You don’t want to be stuck holding all the wonderful merch you just bought, or a jacket, or a poster FOR THE WHOLE DAY!

9. Meet people. 

hugging_animals_08Con-friends are those people you will see again and again and again. Think of it this way: You have something in common with every single person at this convention. Whether it’s NYCC, or CampAnime. Everybody came here because they love being a geek, nerd, otaku, etc. We all love the same things, we’re all passionate about who we are. So why not introduce yourself and trade usernames?

And, of course —

10. Have fun!

I know this one’s a “duh”, but I’m totally serious. Some people mope around cons because they are tired or bored, when there’s so much to do. If you need rest, take a seat, head back to your hotel to take a cat nap, but don’t get all angry or upset. Go to a cool panel, buy something awesome, take pictures, go for a walk, meet people, and my gosh– GO HAVE FUN! YOU’RE AT A CON!

Seriously, go.

Now.

Peace out, fam. I’ll see you at the next convention.

~#1kid

 

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A Little Help for My Friend – The New England Con Experience

So, friend, you want to go to conventions? Not sure where to start? New York Comic Con is gigantic, PAX is breathtakingly huge, and San Diego Comic Con is a distant dream out west… Not to mention you aren’t about to break your piggy bank to go to a convention.

What if I told you that there are also tiny cons, happy little trees that dot the East Coast and the entire world with their judgement-free, Pocky-filled nerdiness?

What if I told you that there are cons held on college campuses, created by nerdy/geeky college students just like you?

What if I told you that conventions are everywhere, and you just didn’t know about them yet?

I’m going to share a few of my favorites (big and small), what I love about them, and how you can get involved too! Let me know your favorites, or any good ones that I should check out.

 

Anime Conventions!

I especially love anime cons because no matter what, hardly anyone judges you. Conventions like Comic Con or PAX are fairly popular and mainstream, where people may (or may not) point at your homemade cosplay and laugh. You hardly see this at anime cons because everyone is trying their hardest and is fairly comfortable. You meet new friends, take pictures, attend some pretty great panels, and have an all around fun time. Here are a few famous favorites:

Anime Boston, held at the Hynes convention center in Boston, MA, is one of New England’s most popular anime cons. I personally have not been yet, but I hear it’s awesome (and busy!). Also, 2017 will be my first year going and I am PUMPED!

“Seriously, it’s a thing.” This gem of a convention is a family-friendly, all-ages, most-epic, never before seen, summer camp convention. You don’t have to like anime to come to CampAnime, you just have to be okay with having fun. CampAnime is my all-time favorite anime convention, and was actually my very first con I went to. You can read all about it on Road2Gold’s past posts.

  • And many, many more!

Comic Cons!

Comic cons are known for their incredible size and popularity. Of course, the bigger, most famous conventions featuring well-loved guests are mentioned in the news or are seen in our news feeds all the time. But a few smaller cons have sprung up all over the place. Comic cons usually aim toward the older crowd, along with sci-fi cons, but every con is different.

It’s huge. I’m not allowed to go because I will get so lost and squished I won’t be able to find my mom ever again.

RICC isn’t that big when compared to NYCC, creating a fun atmosphere with enough
bustle to keRICCGroupep you on your feet. Also, there are no chairs, but that’s beside the point. The cosplayers are friendly, no matter how advanced. While pricey, it’s a great con to grab a friend and spend the day looking at merch and meeting some cool guests.

 

  • And many more that I don’t know enough about!

Campus cons!

College and university campuses have their own conventions too! If you don’t have one near you, and you’re a college student, create a club/event at your school. They’re super fun, and really bring the college’s community together for a great time.

Held at UConn in Storrs, U-Con @ UConn is wicked awesome. All ages are welco
med to
join the group in late Feb/Early March, students and non-students, etc. I’ve been twice, and I’ve always had a blast. If you’d like more info, head to their Facebook group.

  • ConBust – Northampton, MA – March

Conbust is a small campus convention at Smith College in Northampton, conbust20MA. I went in 2016, and met up with some New England convention friends for a day of cosplaying and fun. With many guests and panelists to keep you busy, Saturdat wraps up with “One Dance to Rule Them All” and it’s pretty awesome.

 

 

Gaming conventions!

Everyone in the gaming community has an idea of how incred20170312_184157ible PAX is, but no one
knows its true beauty until they have actually gone. It’s different than any con I have ever been to. (*tears up* So much money and technological advances in one place.)

Last but not least, that one con that I don’t know how to categorize:

So evagentcarterery convention is built for all types of people, it’s hard to categorize. Connecticon is one of those conventions. Anime, gaming, sci-fi, comics, books — whatever you’re into. Connecticon’s got it. It’s a good size, with a variety of dealer’s, artists, photoshoots, panels, and activities. Hartford is pretty cool, too.

 

Honorable mentions

  • Another Anime Convention – I’ve heard fantastic things. It’s in New Hampshire. Manchester, NH – October
  • Bakaretsu Con – One of the very few Vermont conventions. I hear is pretty epic. Colchester, VT – October
  • Katsucon – Not really anywhere near me, but it’s huge and very popular and everyone all around the East Coast goes to it. National Harbor, MD – February

There’s a con for everyone, and frankly, the only way to truly know what kind of cons you’re into is to GO TO ALL OF THEM! Seriously, go to maybe three a year, visit the small ones, meet some people, maybe try a big con once in a while. You’re going to have a blast. Trust me.

Have fun!

~#1kid

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