From May to August, the East Coast of the US is hosting many conventions that cover all types of nerd culture, but which ones are worth the trip?
As we did for March and April, we thought we would share a few of our favorites that we think are worth your time this season.
PortConMaine: June 21-24
This is the northmost con on this list, in Portland, Maine, and one of the more cozy ones. It covers anime, fantasy, sci-fi, film, steampunk, comics, and much more. It also runs several charity events throughout the course of its run. It also runs a “flea market”/”garage sale” event, which invites attendees to try out setting up shop for themselves, though this con does feature official vendors and exhibitors as well. This convention is also run right near the local mall, so if you need a break or you’re craving mall food (as opposed to con food) it’s easy to step out and take a quick break.
This convention also has some great rates: pre-registration tickets, which is open now, are $40 for all four days, $35 for three days, $30 for two, and a “lifetime” option which is $250, but assures the buyer (non-transferable) tickets to the con for as many years as the con runs.
Games for Change Festival: June 28-30
Games for Change Festival is held at Parsons School of Design in New York City. It takes a more academic look at videogames, focusing on innovative technology that can help people create and learn that can affect and contribute to the world in a positive way. It hosts a wide variety of panels and an annual award ceremony, taking time to look at both mainstream and indie games. If you’re interested in some program specifics, please check out our previous articles on their first and second program announcements.
This festival does attract professionals in the field, so rates for passes are a little bit higher than those for your average convention. However, there are discounts for educators, current students, and indie developers. Three day passes are $479 and $379 with the discount, two day passes are $379 and $329 with the discount, and the one day pass that includes access to the fest’s VR summit are $179 and $149 with the discount. Passes are available for purchase now; after June 9 all packages will go up by $50.
Connecticon: July 12-15
Connecticon is hosted at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT. Although it began as an anime convention, it has expanded to encompass sci-fi, film, literature, and various forms of gaming, and has a wide variety of guests that reflect this variation. This convention has a healthy mix of big names, smaller stars, and indie creators. The variety of merchandise tends to slant towards anime, with a fairly consistent vendor list from year to year.
This convention is one of the most popular in the state, and attracts both locals and, if my 3DS’s Streetpass map can be trusted, visitors from all but four of the other forty-nine states, as well as a handful of international folks.
The three-day pass for Connecticon is $75 and $65 with a military discount, Friday-only is $40, Saturday-only is $50, and Sunday-only is $30. In the past, children under a certain age have had a reduced or free rate, but there is no information on the ticket site about that at this time.
Liberty City Anime Con: August 17-19
The Liberty City Anime Con will be hosted at the Marriott Marquis located in Times Square this year, so it will be easy to find even for visitors to the city. This convention has been touted in the past as a more accessible alternative to the New York Comiccon, and has grown exponentially since its first year.
Obviously, this con focuses on anime and manga-related events, merchandise, and guests, but the variety within that category is impressive. Another big plus with this convention is that autographs are free! The one downside is that it is located in the busiest city on the East Coast, so it tends to get packed: if you get overwhelmed easily, it may not be the best convention for you.
Tickets for this con go in full weekend packages and single day tickets. At this time, packages are $57 each; they go up to $60 starting on June 9. Friday-only is $40, Saturday-only is $55, and Sunday-only is $40. Read the registration FAQ carefully! And if you’re interested in this con, buy your tickets now–the con consistently sells out far in advance.
Terrificon: August 17-19
Terrificon is hosted at the Mohegan Sun Expo Center, located in Uncasville, CT. This convention has been growing year by year, and tends to focus on Western comics and guests that are both the hottest thing right now, and classic favorites that have stood the test of time. This convention also hosts a unique “star cars” event, which is essentially a car show with famous cars from film and television, like Herbie the Love Bug and the Winchester’s Amara from Supernatural; previous years have hosted the Batmobile and Batcopter from the Batman television series from the sixties.
Tickets for this event come in a few different packages. Friday-only tickets are $26.75, and Saturday-only and Sunday-only tickets are $29.75 each. This year, there will also be early entry tickets which lets visitors enter a half hour earlier than their peers. Friday-only early entry tickets are $31, and Saturday-only and Sunday-only tickets are $35 each. The three-day pass package is $75 and includes early entry access. The tickets are $5 more when purchased at the convention, and kids under ten get in for free with a paid adult ticket.
Did you see any cons you’re interested in attending? Let us know in the comments, or even over on our Discord channel. If you have any other cons that take place in this region of the US during this time that you’d like to recommend, please let us know as well! And keep your eyes peeled: you’ll probably see some n3rdabl3 staff members wandering around these show floors.