There’s a lot you can learn and enjoy about people from the things they collect. Whether your own personal collections include baseball cards, Beanie Babies or spoons from every U.S. state, you probably still remember the thrill and fun you had piecing together all your favorite things.
Now, imagine cranking up the volume on your favorite collections and taking all your interests and hobbies and putting them in a giant social bubble where everyone around you likes the same things you do – THAT is what I like to call a convention.
In the fantastic world of special interest conventions there is something for everyone. Whether you enjoy music, art, crafts, coins, cars, animals or dressing up as Batman, there’s at least one weekend of the year with your name on it where thousands of people gather to enjoy those same things.
If you’re looking to meet new people, expand upon your own collections, learn a new skill, or even just experience something entirely new, here are a few of my favorite conventions you’ll want to check out.
If you’ve got a special place in your heart for things that slither, creep and crawl, then the reptile and exotic animal convention, Repticon, is for you. This traveling convention makes stops all across the United States, giving you a better chance of making it out to this cold-blooded event. Repticon features a family-friendly atmosphere full of activities, exhibits, educational seminars, and countless booths to purchase reptile pet products and supplies. You might even end up bringing home a new, slithering friend. You’ll want to check out the Repticon website for a list of dates and times that it might crawl into your area.
The Great American Scrapbooking Convention, held in Arlington, Texas the first weekend of June is 72 hours of crafty fun. You can go for just a day or stay for the whole time. From 8 a.m. until early evening each day, the convention offers nonstop workshops where you can meet and socialize with other scrap bookers just like you. You can choose to sit in on dozens of interactive lessons where you can learn new techniques, try different inks or mediums or find ways to make your holiday and birthday scrapbooking designs pop. Best of all, you can grab the newest and hardest-to-find products in the Vendor Fair section.
Whitman Baltimore Expo Coin Convention
This famous coin convention puts some of the most fun, personable and intelligent people in the same center for a whole weekend. The Whitman Baltimore Expo boasts a unique chance to invest, buy, sell and trade coins and currency with leaders in the industry. Whether you enjoy the history or the act of collecting itself, you’ll lose yourself in the selection of coin collecting supplies, products, dealers and collectors you’ll encounter as you take a walk on bourse floor.
Basically, if you enjoy anything (books, television, movies, video games, comics, music, technology, etc.) and also find yourself counting down the days ‘til Halloween each year, Dragon*Con is for you. Held each year in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, you’ll want to plan ahead and come equipped with a costume because almost everyone there will be donning garb that makes them look like their favorite characters.
You’ll meet multiple Harry Potters, Gandalfs, and Rorschachs, and perhaps a Darth Vader wearing overalls, some Futurama characters and even the guys from King of the Hill. Family-friendly by day and increasing more adult-themed by evening, all the events at this convention will bring out anyone’s wild side, which is why it’s recognized as one of the best, weekend-long cosplay parties you’ll ever attend.
If you’re a huge car buff looking for a something a little out of the ordinary, an Art Car Weekend might give you some new inspiration and a host of new friends. Get ready for a wacky ride, as you view some of the most creative and artistic “moving sculptures” you’ll ever see. Some of the biggest gatherings of Art Cars around are held in Kentucky, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Houston, Texas and you’ll want to be sure to check out the annual Houston Art Car Parade, which attracts over 250 decked out cars and more than 300,000 spectators.
What are some other fun conventions to attend if you’re looking to branch out?