February Convention Report: Farpoint, Virginia Beach Comic & Toy Show, and MystiCon

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Since my store Retro Daddio is half music store and half geek store, I vend at A LOT of conventions. Comicons, Sci-Fi conventions, Horror Conventions, Library & Literary Conventions–I love all of them, so I decided to start sharing the ones that I vend at with you, so that you can decide if you want to try them out for yourself!

First up in February was Farpoint. Held at the Delta Hotels by Marriott, Hunt Valley Baltimore, Farpoint is a multi-fandom science fiction convention that also celebrates real science! This was the 26th year of the convention, and guests included Wallace Shawn from The Princess Bride and Young Sheldon (among dozens of other films and shows), Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche (Pinky and the Brain!), and dozens of authors, artists, scientists, cosplayers, performers, and experts in multiple fields.

wallace shawn

Activities included writing and costume contests, panels, readings, discussions, celebrity talks, gaming, an escape room, a charity auction, an art show, films, and even a performance of Potter Live in 45–all the Harry Potter books acted out in 45 minutes!

There were plenty of cosplayers willing to have their pictures taken and chat with other fans too! Next year’s dates are February 21-23, so check them out at http://www.farpointcon.com/

va beach show

Next up was the Virginia Beach Comic and Toy Show, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Virginia Beach. This was the first year of the show, but it’s where Tidewater Comicon got its start!

Vendors were divided between two rooms, with artists in the hallway between them. There was a costume contest, but the focus of this show was the vendors. It was a one-day, old-fashioned comic show, with low admission fees and was well-attended in spite of the driving rain.

Usually, when it’s raining, we don’t see many cosplayers–which makes sense. These people put a lot of time, money, and effort into their costumes and they don’t don’t want them to be ruined by the weather. Despite the rain, we still had some awesome folks that came in costume! Not sure when the next date will be, but check out https://www.facebook.com/tidewatercomicon/ to see the other shows they have coming up, including shows in Chesapeake and Williamsburg this fall!

Our last convention in February was MystiCon. Held at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood in Roanoke, VA, MystiCon was in its ninth year and was excellent, as always.

Guests included Robert Picardo from Star Trek (and a million other things), Author Jody Lynn Nye, and Gaming God Steve Jackson, as well as musicians, filmmakers, artists, authors, scientists, and lots more.

MystiCon had gaming, a dealer room, films, panels, readings, discussions, a charity auction, art room, workshops, trivia contests, a scholarship  and even the Rocky Hogwarts Picture Show! I missed that one, and I’m super sad about it!

A couple of the entrants in the costume contest–that first one was AMAZING up close!

MystiCon is a mid-size hotel convention with a loyal fan base. The con chair is a dynamo, and cosplays multiple characters throughout the weekend, in addition to being pulled in a million different directions. She seriously blows my mind!

The dates for MystiCon 2020 are February 28-March 1, so check them out at https://mysticon-va.com/

All of these shows are family friendly, and there is plenty of programming for all ages and interests. I highly recommend all three of these shows.

Photo Credits: Thank you to Farpoint, Shore Leave, MystiCon, Angie Underwood, Tami Melton, Jim Maurer, Justine Marcoux, and Mark Davis at The Cursing Dog


If you’re a fan of conventions and fandoms, visit our website at https://stores.shopretrodaddio.com or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/retrodaddio


January Convention Report: IllogiCon & MarsCon

January con programs

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I usually vend at two to three conventions each month. Science fiction, horror, comic cons, library cons, literary cons–I love all of them. In January, I vended at two sci-fi conventions: IllogiCon in Raleigh, NC and MarsCon in Williamsburg, VA.

IllogiCon is in its eighth year and was held January 11-13 at the Embassy Suites Raleigh Durham/Brier Creek and the Hampton Inn next door. Gaming and author readings were held at the Hampton and the rest of the programming was at the Embassy Suites. This year’s theme was Pirates vs Robots. It’s a small convention, with approximately 350 attendees and a strong literary emphasis. There were authors everywhere–it was fabulous!

illogicon dealer room

The dealer room is medium-sized, and the dealer room coordinator is awesome (that’s my booth in the center of the photo–prime real estate!) Merchandise included books, jewelry, stickers, art, steampunk gear, laser-engraved chopsticks, wands, adorable clay creations, and more.


Guests of Honor included authors Annalee Newitz and Tracy Deonn Walker, and musical artists Valentine Wolfe (AMAZING, by the way…)


Other entertainment included Metricula and the League of Extraordinary Belly Dancers (both pictured above), a costume contest, burlesque show, and more.


There was even a marriage proposal between two of the longtime convention staffers (and really wonderful people! Congrats Avery and Alex!)


Panels included lots of writing and publishing discussions, readings, LGBTQIA in fandom panels (this year, the badges had a space for you to fill in your preferred pronouns, which I thought was kind of cool–hadn’t seen that before), talks about Star Trek, various films, gaming, comics, disabilities in fandom, and so much more! There is also a charity auction, a con suite that provides snacks for the attendees, a dedicated gaming room, and of course the vendor room.

jett and chris

This is a great convention to kick off the year. It’s small and laid back and has a family feel to it (not just family friendly, but as if everyone is family). If you don’t have friends in attendance already, you’ll make new ones over the course of the weekend. Everyone I encountered was super nice! This was my second year vending at IllogiCon, but I hadn’t been able to vend the two previous years since it was the same weekend as MarsCon. They’re not supposed to overlap again for a number of years, so I’ll definitely be back!

january booth setup

MarsCon is in its 29th year and was held at the Doubletree Resort in Williamsburg  January 18-20. This year’s theme was The Land of the Faerie and the decorating team did an amazing job of transforming spaces into fairyland! MarsCon had approximately 1450 attendees this year and while it has a sci-fi/fantasy focus, tons of fandoms are represented.

There is a huge dealer room and a smaller artist/author alley, as well as a large art room where works up for auction were displayed. There were books, games and supplies, elf ears, steampunk gear, crocheted goods, wands, potions, etched glass, pillows, adorable clay dragons, purses and totes, leather goods, corsets, art, jewelry, apparel, and so much more. MarsCon has a really well-rounded room that offers something for everyone, at a variety of price points.

Guests of honor this year included authors Seanan McGuire and Catherynne Valente, artist Meredith Dillman, game designer and editor Carinn Seabolt, and Musical artists Valentine Wolfe. Yes–there is some crossover in guests at these two conventions, so if you miss them at one convention, you have a chance to see them at the other!


Other entertainers included Mikey Mason (who is freaking hilarious–do yourself a favor and check him out!), Metricula, The Misbehavin’ Maidens, a burlesque show, filking, Flabbergast the Wizard, Luna-C and their own brand of geek humor theatre, White Plectrum, the Blibbering Humdingers, and more.


There was also a costume contest, a charity auction, a con suite that feeds three meals a day plus snacks to the attendees, children’s programming, a craft corner, water quidditch, mermaid swimming lessons, steampunk teapot racing, a jamboree with carnival games, music, etc, Nerf gun wars, a dedicated gaming room, video game room, anime room, and SO MUCH MORE. Dozens of panels on every topic you can think of, discussions with the guests of honor, readings, workshops, a vaudeville show, trivia challenges, a Doctor Who Tea Party—there is seriously no possible way to be bored at this convention! This was my fifth year vending at MarsCon, and I think I’ve been on the staff for three years? I just started helping with stuff and ended up on staff! It’s definitely one of my favorite conventions of the year!


Please check out the websites and Facebook pages for both conventions–you need to start planning your cosplay for next year! https://www.illogicon.org and https:// http://www.marscon.net Dates for 2020 should be January 10-12 for IllogiCon and will be January 17-19 for MarsCon.

Psst..that’s me waving in the background. Travis said “Hey Jen–wave!”

Photo credits: IllogiCon staff, James Rippe at Ripptowne Photography, and Steven Lee Munger.