Sacramento Geeks Unite!

A Collective of Fans, Fanatics and Aficiandos

The Top Conventions for Sacramento Geeks

By Stephanie Rector

Manager, www.sacgeeks.com

 

Ah, conventions: A chance to meet and hang out with the fellow geeks and fans.  Party like only a geek could.  Meet your favorite stars.  Learn more about favorite and new shows.  And ogle or buy those hard-to-find collectibles.  A veritable geek Mecca.  We present a comprehensive run-down of recommended conventions for Sacramento Geeks:

 

Local (Sacramento and vicinity):

 

  • ConQuest Sac: at varying Sacramento hotels every March or April. Time to get your game on! Check www.conquestsac.com a few months before March for the next exact date and location. For you hard-core (or wannabe) table-top gamers, thereís tons of D&D, RPG, RPGA, trading cards (CCGs), miniatures and board gaming. Boardgaming, card games, D&D, minatures, RPG, RPGA, & CCGs, in the style of open gaming, demos, tournaments, and seminars. Thereís also a small vendor room and a midnight flea market to snag some deals! And if you want to make your gaming a bit more out of town, thereís also ConQuest SF, www.conquestsf.com: in late August/early Sept. at the Santa Clara Marriott. Look for room/admission package deals at both cons.
  • Sac-Anime: By the same crew that brings you Sac-Con (above), but this quickly and vastly growing convention focuses mainly on anime, but also features cosplay and gaming, and is twice a year -- 3 days in the summer (July or August) and 3 days in the Winter (January), now at the Sacramento Convention Center. Check www.sacanime.com for the latest/current yearís details. This con/party weekend is very popular with the high school/college set, since it includes a night-time dance club with live music, as well as lots of anime viewings plus special guests, a Cosplay fashion show and a vendor room. Another great deal, since the 3-day pass is just $25 and the one-days passes are even cheaper. Well, at least they were last time, not sure about future pricing.
  • Sac-Con:  Sacramentoís Comic, Toy and Anime Show, at the Scottish Rite Center (6151 H Street - Across from Sac State University) on Sundays every few months (approx. every 3 months).  Go to www.sacramentocomics.com or www.sac-con.com  for the exact schedule.  Itís cheap (seven bucks!), nearby, and fun.  Great shopping opportunities especially for those seeking deals on comic books, plus people-watching (cosplay!), B-movie stars signing autographs, and a good selection of anime to watch all day. Gets very crowded!  Attended primarily by the teen and young adult set but fun for all ages. Multi-genre but mostly anime and comics, plus some trading card tournaments.   (Anyway, what else you gonna do on a Sunday, go to church?)  Sac-Con also does special cons, like for halloween, and a sci-fi and/or horror con at least once a year.   
  • Stockton Con: The goal of StocktonCon is to raise awareness of outstanding artists in the San Joaquin Valley area Ė and to give attendees the chance to experience a wide variety of Popular Culture (Comics, Card Games, Video Games, Cards, Anime, Manga, Science Fiction, Toys, Television and Movies). It is also StocktonConís intention to raise awareness and funds in conjunction with the United Way and St. Maryís Dining Room and other local charities. http://stocktoncon.com/about-stockton-con/
  • Twisted Terror Convention: new annual Horror Convention in late March in varying Sacramento hotels featuring special guests, vendors and screenings! http://www.sacstwistedterror.com/
  • West Sac SciFi Spectacular/May the Fourth Be With You: The third annual offering of this community event is a fun collaboration by West Sacramento Department of Parks and Recreation, SacGeeks.com, ToyFusion, and local cosplay fan groups and community organizations, and a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 2013 and 2014 events focused on Star Wars fan groups. In 2015, the event will feature Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, Firefly and Doctor Who fandoms! A thousand to two thousand attendees. http://www,westsacscifi.com and www.sacgeeks.com
  • Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con: The newest contender had it's first run, a successful one at that, in March 2014, and will be returning June 2015 to the Sacramento Convention Center downtown at the time of this update. General geek/comic book con with very big name special guests and huge vendor room.  Tens of thousands attend, or more. Check out http://www.wizardworld.com/registration-sacramento.html  and https://www.facebook.com/wizardworldsacramento

 

Sorta-local (Bay Area):

  • Bay-Con: Sci-fi/fantasy convention held every Memorial Day weekend.  Previously held in San Jose, their new home is the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara.  See http://baycon.org/2008 to see what the last one was like, and http://baycon.org/2009 to find out more about next yearís.  While I havenít been able to make it to this one yet, I hear that this one is a big party con, and I mean that in the most positive sense.  Another multi-genre with tons of programming in every category.  Some of their regular fixtures include ďWriters' Workshop, Anime Room, Gaming, Boffers Wars, Birds of a Feather Gatherings, Fanzine Lounge, Readings, Autographs, Family Friendly Programming, BCTV [their own closed-circuit TV show], Music Concerts, Filk Lounge, Meet the Guests Reception, Masquerade & Post-Masquerade Dance, Rock Dance, Regency Dancing, Swing Dance, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Con Suite, Charity Casino & Charity Auction.Ē   In other words, I promise youíll find something for you here.  This one is fan-run & not for profit, so itís *not* about packing as many fans in and charging them up the rear.  Itís by-fans, for-fans; i.e. fans doing what fans want to do.   Thereís a huge volunteer staff that makes sure there really is something for every geek to enjoy.  Considering attendance is under one to two thousand, the amount of variety is even more impressive.
  • Big-Wow Comic Con: annually, late May, at San Jose Convention Center.  Quickly and largely growing geek culture con.  Vendors, cosplay, panels, etc.  http://www.bigwowcomicfest.com/ 
  • Clockwork Alchemy/Fanime: Half Steampunk Con, half anime con! Memorial Day weekend, Doubletree San Jose, http://www.clockworkalchemy.com/
  • DundraCon: Mid Feb at the San Ramon Mariott. Boardgaming convention. http://www.dundracon.com/
  • KublaCon: Memorial Day Weekend @ the SFO Hyatt. Pretty good mix of Board Games (TableTop or "EuroGames"), RPGs (including great LARPs), CCGs, and assorted other stuff. I've been on staff the last few years and absolutely love it. Far more family friendly than many cons. The great Young Players room just expanded to include a Teen Room and may expand even more in 2013. http://kublacon.com/
  • Pacificcon: Is briefly mentioned in the "Local (Sacramento):" section entry for ConQuest Sac, but deserves it's own entry. http://pacificcongameexpo.com/

Out of town but really worth the trip:

 

  • Comic-Con: San Diego Convention Center (they take up the entire huge center!), every July.  www.comic-con.com   You really ainít seen huge and great until youíve been in the exhibit hall at Comic-Con.  Itís the whole length of bottom floor of the San Diego Convention Center.  Itís gigantic.  Itís humongous. Itís, dare I say it, GINORMOUS! You name it, theyíve got it.  (Tentacle porn DVDs & figurines?  Of course!)  Plus awesome show exclusives freebie swag (stuff you can auction off on E-bay afterwards to finance your trip) if you get there early enough!   Thereís big-time exhibitors: major movie studios and bigtime companies like Warner Brothers and Disney for example.   Just like at WonderCon, thereís Artist Alley, but many more of them.  You could easily spend the whole day plus some browsing just the Exhibit Hall.  But, thereís also more programming than you can shake a stick at, and some of it is really major.  A pop culture/multi-genre con, but even more so.   Multitudes of programming:  Panels featuring stars from fave shows like Lost and Heroes.  Superhero movie and TV pilot premieres & previews.  Art shows.  Fan discussions.  Authors and other special guest speakers.   Donít miss seeing Ray Bradbury while you still can!   Expect some lines, so plan carefully which panels/presentations you really want to catch the most.  (You wonít be able to do everything, unless youíve got clones or a time machine.) And be sure to book your hotel the first hour of the first day that hotel reservations open!  Seriously! All the local hotels really do book up before the day is over, itís amazing.  Keep checking their website for which day that is.  Buy your tix online in advance too, because the last couple years, the four-days and even some of the one-days completely sell out up to a couple months before!  Tens of thousands of folks attend this one every year, for good reason.  Comic-Con is really something you need to experience to believe.  Did I mention the cool, free, collectible swag?   

 

  • Dragon*Con: held Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. This one is the furthest away one on this list, but Iím told by Sacramenteans who have somehow been able to afford the trip that itís definitely worth the expense and time, and that it needs to be experienced at least once in your life!  Save your dollars and pennies up for the flight, hotel and admission for this major trip, and youíll be glad you did!  Dragon*Con is reportedly the largest U.S. multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on sci-fi and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, TV and film, but also featuring horror, computer games (including MMOs), anime, science, skeptics and even romance writers.  Itís so big, itís held at four neighboring hotels: Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta Hilton & Towers and Sheraton Atlanta.  And like any good hotel con founded by a sci-fi club, itís a major party con.  Some history that helped this con grow:  In 1995, Dragon*Con hosted both the North American Science Fiction Convention and the International Starfleet Conference as part of its 1995 convention. The combined event had 14,312 fans participating.  In 2007, Dragon*Con turned 21 years old, and was attended by over 30,000 members and over 400 guests!  Dragon*Con now hosts over 600 hours of panels, workshops, demonstrations and discussions with authors, editors, artists, game designers and media personalities. Some individual programming tracks concentrate on specific interests like Star Trek, Star Wars, British and American television, Anne McCaffrey's Pern, NASA Space Science, JRR Tolkien's Middle-Earth, Electronic Frontiers, and more. Dragon*Con also presents theatrical and radio performances, concerts and dances, gaming tournaments, costume contests, Robot Battles, a parade, Professional Championship Wrestling, an independent short film festival, auctions and charity events, art shows & print shops, one of the largest dealers rooms & exhibit halls in the world, and 24 hour video and film Rooms.  At $85 for a four-day membership, this one is not cheap, even if somehow you beamed there thus saving the travel expenses.  (But you still got your stimulus package check money right?  SureÖ.  Well, maybe youíll win the lotteryÖ.) Check out www.dragoncon.org for more information and to plan your future trip.