I have been visiting comic book stores and idolizing sci-fi movies for about 30 years. Back in the day, “conventions” in my part of the country (small town Ohio) were events that were held at malls which pretty much meant a bunch of older nerds and possibly shop owners set up tables and sold their wares. Every once in a while we’d get a “celebrity” or more likely a costumed character to show up. It was nothing like conventions today.
So when Wizard World announced they were coming to my new hometown, Las Vegas, I knew this was the event I would use to introduce my nine year old son to a Nerdy convention. James, my son, has definitely been keeping a close eye on my convention visits, especially the big one in San Diego. When I told him about Wizard World Las Vegas, he went through the roof. He couldn’t wait to see first hand all the things I had described to him over the years.
The big day finally came. James and I rode the escalator up to the second floor of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. His first request, get a picture of him against the Wizard World backdrop. We hadn’t even made it through the doors and my son was enamored with the cosplayers and general crowd. Crossing the threshold though, immediately brought requests to buy every nerdy toy in sight. Luckily I was prepared as I steered him down one isle and described how we attack conventions.
– First, canvas the area. Get a feel for the space.
– Second, check out the schedule of events, such as the free drawing clinic and the kids
– Second, find friends and do the old howdy do.
– Next, track down artist alley and discover up and coming talent as well as visit with old favorites.
– Never forget to keep track of the fellow attendees as you walk around so you can take pictures with impressive coplayers.
– Rest break for food, liquids (must stay hydrated at all times) and of course the bathroom
– Visit the free areas, which in this case consisted of a gaming area (video games, board games and card games) and a great display of lifesize Matchbox cars.
– And finally, peruse all the vendors and decide where to spend the Nerdy dollars.
Despite the great number of celebrities collected, James and I chose to simply walk around and see who was attending. I had the pleasure of detailing the accomplishments of some of my favorites, like Lou Ferrigno, Elvira, Kevin Conroy, Michael Rooker and of course my ultimate nightmare, Robert Englund. We opted not to go for the autographs or pictures, mainly because my Harry Potter loving son was disappointed at the absence of Tom Felton, aka Draco Malfoy.
All-in-all, we had a great time. I was able to instruct my son on the finer points of convention conduct. And of course, father and son made some great Nerdy memories that sure as hell beat a mall in small town Ohio.
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