“Chimichanga!” rings out from some corner of the expo hall. Others echo it, and soon there’s a conga line snaking its way through the attendees buying books, action figures; collectables of all kinds. I’m surround by other-worldly creatures and people.
This might seem like chaos with all the caped heroes dashing about.
Actually, its a finely tuned machine.
My first convention was Sakura-Con when I was fourteen or fifteen, back when it was still split between two hotels. The convention has grown so much since then, now the largest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest.
As I got older, I started to attend PAX, back before there were four, back when it was the Hunger Games to get a three-day pass. If I’m realistic, its still quite the challenge to get a three or four-day pass because of how fast the convention has grown.
I started to work at Sakura-Con after high school, when I ran into a few friends. And that changed my enjoyment of Sakura-Con even more because I got to spend it with friends and helping people with their experience. I still got to be involved in the community without necessarily just being there to attend – which I had grown bored doing.
With my experience at Sakura-Con, I was able to become an Enforcer for PAX West. Working at a convention was more enjoyable than being an attendee.
My interests were waning. I watched less anime, played more video games and read more comics. I checked out Emerald City Comic-Con, and then moved to the East Coast for school.
After a one year hiatus from attending any nerdy conventions, I dove back into being an Enforcer, only now for PAX East.
After all of the setup was done, and the following morning the crowds were lined up across the bridge, I realized I had missed this. I missed the excitement of fans, fandom, and the community. They say you don’t miss something until its gone, and while my hiatus was voluntary, I missed the nerdy community.
Being surrounded by strangers who were all there to celebrate fandom, and a hobby that had shaped their life is a comfort. Its easy to fall in conversation with strangers while standing in line because you already have a common denominator. Much of that anxiety can be swept aside because you can talk about the fandom you’re passionate about.
My friend Katie and I attended Boston Comic-Con (BCC) last year, and we weren’t disappointed with all the fun we had. We’ve talked about attending conventions together because we enjoyed talking about our love of comics, fanfiction, and nerd culture. Not to mention using this weekend to get nerdy tattoos.
And here I am on the eve of year two of BCC stoked to dive into the community.