We're all familiar with popular conventions like the San Diego Comic Con or Anime Expo. These conventions are huge and in their own right! We'd pay tons of money for a fun weekend trip to cosplay, shop and socialize with fellow geeks in fandoms. These cons are amazing, but there's something to be said about small local conventions.
Local conventions do a couple of things that are really important for fandom communities in general. They provide something that larger conventions simply can't. We've listed five reasons why you should attend and support your local conventions!
1. They Bring the Local Community Together
This is a really important part of local conventions that you can't get anywhere else. If you choose to go to a convention a few states over, your chances of meeting people in your area are slim. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, nor does it mean you won't make friends, but it's always nice to have someone near by.
At local conventions, you're more likely to see people you might recognize and may be able to create more of a small community. Think about returning to conventions or going to similar ones within the area; you can get a group of friends together to attend or simply follow a crowd you know! You can also consider events outside conventions like teams going Pokemon hunting or attending cosplay events at parks. You never know who you might get along with!
2. They Promote Local or Small Businesses
Usually at a convention, you'll find an artists alley or dealer's room. The venues and small artists who attend these conventions can be local or have traveled just to sell their products to you. While this isn't an infomercial, it is important to remember that cons provide these smaller groups with an opportunity to sell more things at once, especially artists who need several commissions to make decent money.
If you live in a particularly small town, where the venue is might also be very important. Some places love the extra attention a convention can bring to their businesses. Some host in small hotel resorts while others might even be at a local casino, but for the most part, smaller local conventions tend to keep it close and tight. If you like to support these kinds of places, you should consider getting a pass!
3. They Bring Awareness to Your Home
Maybe you live in a town or close to a town that has a local convention, so you attend. While you're more likely to meet people who live closer to you at these kinds of conventions, you may also see people who've traveled just to be there. There's a lot of reasons for them coming to you, but regardless this is always a good sign.
If a local convention gets a lot of good reviews that spread around the internet, you'll probably find travelers who will want to stop by and both the convention and the town it's in. It's always nice when smaller towns get recognition for cool events, and being known for at least one fun convention is always great for your local geek cred.
4. They're Cheaper!
This one should be an obvious, but smaller conventions are usually cheaper. Unless their venue was super fancy, you're usually allowed to get in for a fee under 50 dollars at the very least, which is pretty great for those of you on a tight budget!
Another thing you always have to consider when you go to a larger convention is the travel and preparations you'll have to make. If you don't live in the area, you may have to purchase a hotel and consider gas or even airline prices. Depending on where that is, it could get pretty pricey. Local conventions won't do you dirty like that; you can come wash of your cosplay makeup in the comfort of your own home at the end of the night!
5. There's No Place Like Home
As cheesy as it sounds, it's very true; there really is no place like home. If your home or a place close to home is able to host a convention, you should go to it. It's always exciting to see that there is a community close to you that wants to also have fun and meet up.
When you go to a local convention, you support a lot. But more importantly, you support where you live and the people in it. Sometimes the geek community has a hard time seeing each other because we don't have places to go and be physically present. But a local convention will always be perfect when you get to finally see the people who love the same things you do!