It’s convention time again! E3 is mere days away, with San Diego Comic Con close on its heels. We couldn’t be more excited about the new games, gear, and announcements we’ll discover in the next month. And yet — cool as they are — these shows do kinda loom over the convention landscape.
In the interest of fairness, we’ve gathered up info on ten of the lesser-known conventions the U. S. has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a new adventure or a community to call your own, we think you’ll find something worth checking out on this list:
1) Blobfest: There are plenty of Sci-Fi conventions out there, but Pennsylvania’s Colonial Theatre has a monopoly on those based around the 1958 sensation that was The Blob. The big event here is a reenactment of the film’s iconic “theater run out” scene, during which participants run screaming into the streets as they run from a blob that may or may not be imagined.
2) Twins Day Festival: The largest gathering of twins, triplets and other “multiples” in the world, this Twinsburg, Ohio festival has been running for 40 years. If you’re a twin, or related to one, you can join in the Double Take Parade or Twin Talent Show. Persons born into families without twins need not apply.
3) World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships: The largest gathering of professional taxidermists and fish carvers in the world, this show may not be for the vegetarian set. Participants liken it to a family reunion, as many of the 56 yearly vendors keep in touch throughout the year. You can even get in on the act yourself by joining fish painting and taxidermy seminars throughout the five days of festivities.
4) Merfest: “A Grand Gathering of Merfolk and Pirates,” Merfest is a celebration of all things mer. There are underwater fashion shows, swimming events, and even swordplay workshops for participants of a piratical persuasion. If you’re looking for a place to unleash your “mersona,” then grab your seashells and head off to North Carolina.
5) National Beard Championships: Every Movember, Brooklyn NY plays home to the biggest-bearded event in the U. S. Judges preside over eighteen categories of facial hair, including Best Dali Mustache and Full Beard Freestyle. No matter what you facial hair situation is, all are welcome here. Participation in the events is severely limited, however.
6) Ohio Valley Filk Fest: Filk is a musical movement based around the sounds of Sci-Fi. Mostly. Actually, what Filk is kinda varies with who you ask about it. It’s a fandom that has existed since the 1950s, and the Ohio Valley Filk Fest (OVFF) has been going on since 1984, but that doesn’t mean that there’s a single homogenized “Filk sound” out there. For one example of what Filk can be, go ahead and give the below Dubstep Doctor Who track a listen.
7) Vent Haven ConVENTion: Four days of events, all centered around ventriloquism, or “Vent” as industry insiders call it. There are no contests here, only very serious discussions on the craft of Vent. Not even families of participating ventriloquists are permitted, so make sure to bring your dummy if you want to check out this exclusive event.
8) World Clown Association: This week-long event is another of those “serious” conventions. Sure, everybody will be walking around in bright colors and silly makeup, but that just goes to show that clowning is something you can’t do halfway. If you want to brush up on your face painting, juggling or, uh, gospel ballooning then Reno, Nevada is the place for you.
9) International UFO Congress: Ufologists and abductees alike make the yearly trek to Scottsdale, Arizona for this Guinness World Record-holding UFO convention. Join them and you’ll be able to take part in film screenings, “experiencer sessions” (audience members recanting their tales of abduction or sightings), night vision sky watching events, and cocktail parties. You’ll also be able to score just about any kind of UFO related kitsch imaginable.
10) Lebowskifest: This travelling celebration of all things Lebowski is two nights of non-stop silliness. Cosplay, bowling, and a movie screening happen every year, so whether you resonate with The Dude or are more of a Walter, you’ll have a good time.
There are plenty more conventions out there that could use a bit of extra love, so if you know of one we left off this list, let everybody know about it in the comments.