I spent the last two weekends at relatively local conventions; the first was Fantasticon Toledo, which is a fairly small convention, and the second was Wizard World Cleveland, which I’d say is more medium sized. While SDCC is the mecca of cons, the “big show”, if you will, there are several advantages in going to a smaller convention. Today I’ll be touching on five of those perks.
1. More Personal Space
If you’re at all like me, you may need your own personal bubble. Mega conventions are absolutely incredible, but they don’t exactly leave you with much room to breathe. A smaller convention tends to not be quite as crowded, so you’re not forced to be shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of strangers. Anything that will reduce anxiety is a HUGE win for me, which is why I’m placing this one first.
2. More Affordable
It’s no secret that large conventions usually cost a pretty penny. Once you figure in the cost of passes, travel, lodging, and food, what cash is left for merchandise or photo ops?! When heading to a smaller convention, the cost for passes and lodging tends to be more manageable, and that frees up some dough for ALLLLLL the merch! Since I practically live in Smallville, cost tends to be a big issue for me.
3. More Face Time With Writers, Artists, & Celebs
I meet so many wonderful people each time I go to a convention. When the floor is less crowded, you tend to be able to spend more time at booths and not feel so rushed. I’ve established friendships with writers and artists alike, and had some incredible conversations with celebrities just because there was no line behind me and we were able to take our time and have a REAL chat.
4. More Of A Family Affair
Due to the prices and the lack of floor space, huge conventions tend to be a place for friends to meet up, or a fun trip for the occasional couple. The past two weekends I have seen SO many families hitting the conventions together. There are often plenty of activities for children, and they even get their own cosplay contest! Since the floors aren’t as crowded, strollers aren’t as discouraged, which makes things much more convenient with the younglings. I even saw several dogs at the convention last weekend! If that doesn’t qualify as a family event, then I don’t know what does.
5. Not As Difficult To Get Into Panels
At large conventions, one can wait in line for panels for hours at a time and STILL not get in. That is a serious disappointment and a total waste of time. Curse you Hall H! The smaller the convention, the less variety there tends to be in panels, but usually there are plenty of things that are still totally worth seeing. The maximum wait time is often about 30 minutes, and good seats aren’t too difficult to find.
Every convention has its own pros and cons. (See what I did there?) What types of things draw you to the shows that you attend? Comment below, or tweet me at @amlehr!