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The Best Cons for Nerds and Geeks in 2017

Thousands of people travel to sites all over the world to see things like landscapes and monuments or to attend festivals. Others travel so that they can dress up as their favorite character from comic books, TV, or movies, learn how they can reverse engineer an ATM, or to reenact scenes from Game of Thrones. The 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention alone had more than 10,000 attendees and it is estimated that more than 2.2 million people go to various science fiction conventions every year. This isn’t all of the places where geeks gather, though. There are more events than you might think.

Comic–Con

There are conventions for fans and then there is THE Comic–Con. This might be the most popular science fiction, comic, fantasy gathering and it is held annually in San Diego. Yes, there are quite a few “Comic Cons’’ held all over the world, but this is the original one that began in 1970 with only 145 attendees. Now, they annually have more than 125,000 attendees, many of whom cosplay and display their skills with various accouterments, such as lightsabers, from movies, comics and TV shows. There are even actors there from current TV shows and upcoming movies. These actors have what are known as panels where they will discuss the films or TV shows they act in. It is worth making note of that while Comic–Con might be the con that gets the most publicity, it isn’t the biggest… by far. There is one in Japan called Comiket that is held twice a year and attended by more than half a million people.

Acrobatica Infiniti

If you are a fan of cosplay and you enjoy circus type shows, then you might just be interested in attending one of the Acrobatica Infiniti shows. This is also known as the Nerd Circus and it features a cast of performance artists that includes jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists, contortionists, and more. All of the performers are cosplaying while they perform too… which makes this the ideal circus venue for those who enjoy cosplay. Some of their acts include a Kaylee Parasol juggler, Elastigirl Contortionist, and Soot Sprite Juggling Totoro. They are definitely worth checking out.

LARPing

This doesn’t really count as a Con of any sort, but it is definitely where nerds and geeks of all kinds gather. LARP is the acronym for Live Action Role Playing and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. This is where geeks and nerds dress up and pretend to be their favorite characters as they go on adventures in the real world, fighting monsters that are played by other LARPers and they use foam weapons. There have been quite a few documentaries about this and LARPing is becoming something that is happening in cities across the country. You can go to LARPing.org to find a LARP group near you. You can search for different types of LARP groups, such as fantasy, Nordic, post – apocalyptic, and more. I searched for Medievil groups in the Chicago area and was surprised to find that there are 2 of them!

Ren Faires

Short for Renaissance Faires, these are semi – reenactments of the 1500 – 1750 era in Europe, and they feature things like jousts, ancient “mead”, contests using the bow and arrow, and plenty of people dressed up in medieval costumes and suits of armor. Ren Faires began in the US, but now they are able to be found all over Australia and Europe, and even in some parts of Canada. In the US alone, Ren Fairs annually draw around 2 million attendees.

Hacker Cons

A team competing in the CTF contest at DEFCON 17 in Las Vegas.

Hacker cons are unique and a sort of fusion of an acid trip, the movie Hackers, and a corporate conference. Larger hacker cons will have sets of experts talking about tech security, but many times, the discussions will branch off into other topics that are related, such as reprogramming ATMs and picking locks. Speaking of ATMs, you more than likely won’t want to use one that is within a few miles of the actual convention and these cons aren’t the best places to try to get online either. In fact, most of the time, the actual presentations are being hacked by people in the audience during the time they are being presented.

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