As we come to the end of 'Con Season', I can't help but feel like it has to go out with a bang! Like all of us geeks and nerds need to come together and be loud and proud of all of our greatest obsessions! In my book, there's no better way to do this than to go to the four day long Convergence Convention.
CONvergence logo via Convergence-Con.org
'Convergence' is exactly what it's name implies, a converging of fandoms from across the board. It's one huge party where every TV Show, Anime, Film, Book Series, Video Game etc. you could ever think of is represented and celebrated by the ones who love them most, hence why it's one of the biggest conventions in the Midwest. It's been going on since 1999 and is always held on the first weekend of the month of July, usually landing somewhere on the Fourth when it can literally end the season with a bang!
Besides being ginormous, Convergence sets itself apart from many conventions by having actual lore behind its mascot, Connie the fembot. There's a Professor Max who created multiple robots seen at the con (Including Connie herself) and Connie's younger sister, Mark 2 (All hail, Mark 2!) who tried to take over the Con back in 2010 when the theme was 'Bring On The Bad Guys'. It was amazing, you should have been there! Speaking of themes, each year has a different one. This year's theme was 'DoublePlusGood', all about dystopian futures and Connie allowed Mark 2 (All hail, Mark 2! Sorry, force of habit...) to host this just this once. The website has the full story on their lore which you can find HERE.
This year, I brought a newbie with me for not only her first Convergence experience, but her first Convention experience EVER. That being said, I wouldn't bring another ConVirgin to Convergence to pop their proverbial 'cherry'. I'm not saying it should absolutely never be done, there are always exceptions, but there is just so much being crammed within a four day period that the uninitiated will most definitely experience some form of sensory overload. Heck, I still need to take breaks throughout the weekend and I've been going for nearly a decade. This is a convention that needs a gameplan, I've known friends who'd bring printed schedules to see and do everything they wanted. Seriously.
Convergence has your convention staples like panels, stage performances, demonstrations, gaming and crafting. But they like to go a bit beyond what you'd probably be used to. Because ConV takes up the entire Doubletree Hotel and spills into neighboring ones, there are a ridiculous amount of panels that cover nearly every topic. Demonstrations can range from scientific to learning how to play cricket (super fun, by the way) and there's an entire room dedicated to crafting your heart out called 'Quantum Sandbox'. Performances range from musical like Harmonic Convergence to improv performances by Fearless Comedy and beyond. As for the gaming? Well, it's everywhere. Not just in the rooms between ConSuite but up on the 22nd floor of the hotel where there are rooms dedicated to card games, RPGs, and one awesome game called Artemis Online that I got to try out!
I've mentioned that this convention is pretty big, so just try and imagine their Dealer's Room! Trying to navigate through it can be daunting but everywhere you turn you're going to see something and say “OMG, that's awesome!” or “I need that. Right now. Take all my money!”
You said it, Fry.
Masquerade event, which has impressed me numerous times with its wide array of costumes and skill level of the participants. However, IMO, the real masquerade is out in the halls of Convergence. Costumers seem to love to bring their 'A' game even going from one panel to another, you can run into giant robots, Lego Han Solo and Batman or even Groot!
I can't even begin to tell you everything that I've seen just from walking to go get some soup at Consuite. Don't worry about going hungry, by the way, Consuite has you covered with as much free soup, rice, and PBJ as your heart desires (They serve a few surprises now and again too).
Once your day at Con is spent and you're ready to crash there's only one thing to do, that's right, party until you pass out! (Please don't actually pass out, that was a figure of speech. Always drink responsibly at any convention!) Convergence has two levels of party rooms with a wide range of themes and drinks to try. Some of them will even have their own little blink-and-you'll-miss-them events that you have to see to believe! Connie even joins in the fun at Connie's Space Lounge with awesome music, dancing, activities and smoothies!
My final consensus is that if you feel your Con season needs to end with more fanfare and you need a break from the humdrum Fourth of July getaway then you should seriously consider checking out Convergence. I guarantee that you'll get the celebration you never knew you needed!
There's probably tons of things I left out (It's a big Con, people!) so please leave comments below telling me all the things you did or saw at Convergence this year! Or e-mail stories/pictures to email@example.com and I'll share them here.
For more info on CONvergence, visit their website HERE