My town held ReadCon this weekend. Apparently in its second year, this was our first participating. The premise is amazingly fun; a bunch of local businesses basically hosted a comic-con downtown. There were panels and costumes and badges too. It was awesome.
We learned a couple things too; everyone loves Doctor Who and the firstborn is quite terrified of Tusken Raider costumes.
You know a convention is worthwhile when the 501st brings shows up and R2 is in tow. The toddler was not quite sure of the robot. I love when R2 builds are around. The tech is amazing, the craftsmanship astonishing and the smiles of the crowd viewing the bot are little, visible bits of the best of us. What really makes the droid fun though is the builder walking it through a crowd. He stood back just out of view of the robot itself and guided it toward kiddos and turned on music when people got near enough to be just a little startled by the sudden sound. All in good fun too.
ReadCon really focused on getting people into the library. There was a section of the hall dedicated to Doctor Who stuff. Nothing elaborate, but a quick cardboard Dalek with a flashlight and a mini kitchen whisk is always fun to see. There were flyers with “read alike” suggestions for Doctor Who fans. Friggin’ brilliant.
A real “I saw that on the Internet!” moment came in seeing a section of books wrapped in brown paper with quick highlights listed about the content. They say not to judge a book by its cover, so covers were eliminated from the “blind date with a book” table. Neat concept. We wound up with a kid’s sci-fi book. Admittedly, I would have skipped this book based on the cover that looked straight out of the 80s. Don’t get me wrong, it is better than any of my book covers, but that’s not saying too much. I am looking forward to reading it with the kids. Should be fun.
While the firstborn was sort of aware of what was happening around him and remained excited through our brief visit to the event, the toddler lost focus.
His game eventually became “hold all the really pointy colored pencils”. There were nice tables set up for folks to enjoy coffee or cookies at, neither of which were exactly toddler friendly. On the tables were coloring pages and freshly sharpened colored pencils. There are some moments a parent has to decide what is worse; allowing a dangerous object to be clutched in the tiny hands of a tiny human or listen to the tiny human shriek when it does not get its way. I opted to brave the potential damage. I was only stabbed once. It hurt pretty bad. But the kid laughed! So he was happy…or a sociopath. Time will tell.
ReadCon took place not in one single location, but in a couple of spots throughout downtown. Genius. It got us walking outdoors, seeing the new businesses that have set up down there and we even wound up sticking around for dinner instead of heading to the hinterlands for a meal with the family. Every town needs something like this. Part of the fun was heading to the comic books and board game shop downtown. Any excuse to go there is good enough. We picked up a game, added scream more to our wish list and will be heading back soon so the firstborn can pick out his first D20 set.
Our last “Con” experience was Denver Comic Con. My wife assures me the time-share thing we went to does not count. Denver was a massive experience full of commerce, costumes and crowds. At ReadCon there were local authors reading from their books through a horridly poorly mixed speaker system. Two totally different events with wildly different goals, but at their heart both were about community.
This next part is completely unrelated, but I need to end this somehow. This morning unsolved locked bedroom doors and fingers getting smashed in diorama in one swoop.