The Con Life: Nearby Sci-Fi and Fantasy Conventions

Science fiction conventions across our area, from Virginia to DC to North Carolina, have finally begun to reopen for in-person visits, including guest author and artist panels, dealer rooms, and other activities. Keeping track of the conventions as they rapidly approach can be a daunting task. CRRL even has its own convention, CRRL-CON, which specializes in books and graphic novels and will be resuming in-person activities in 2023.

This article will help you keep track of the conventions, their locations, and the types of sci-fi and fantasy content they specialize in.

Cons in the Old Dominion

MarsCon, opens a new window takes place this year in Virginia Beach, from January 13 to 15. It is a small convention that specializes in sci-fi and fantasy literature, featuring panels with sci-fi and fantasy authors. It also features gaming, opens a new window; tabletop roleplay, opens a new window, board games, and card games are all available at the convention. This year's theme is “Witches and Warlocks,” suggesting a strong concentration on fantasy and magical settings. You may even see someone from CRRL on one of the panels this year!

One of the larger sci-fi conventions in our area is GalaxyCon Richmond, opens a new window. Part of the family of GalaxyCon events, opens a new window run across the country by GalaxyCon LLC, GalaxyCon Richmond 2023 takes place from March 24 to 26. It features an extensive store, opens a new window with autographed photos, comics, and mystery boxes. GalaxyCon has a wide range of events for many types of fandom, from anime, opens a new window and video games, opens a new window to superheroes, opens a new window and sci-fi, opens a new window. Much of the draw of visiting GalaxyCon is autographs and meetings with popular celebrities involved with sci-fi and fantasy.

RavenCon, opens a new window is another Virginia-based sci-fi con. 2023’s RavenCon takes place in Richmond, from April 21 to 23. RavenCon is similar in size to MarsCon and has added a few features to its list of activities over the years, including an escape room, opens a new window. RavenCon features a selection of guests from various fields, including science, writing, and art. A cosplay, opens a new window contest is prominently featured on the second day of the con. RavenCon is now over 15 years old and looks to extend its record of success far into the future.

CRRL-CON: Your Library’s Con for You

Central Rappahannock Regional Library has its own con to showcase sci-fi, fantasy, and comics. CRRL-CON, opens a new window takes place on May 20, 2023, at Howell Branch, opens a new window in southern Stafford County. 2023 features a return to events taking place in our library branches, as opposed to the strictly virtual events during held in recent years. CRRL-CON will be adding events, participants, and activities closer to the date of the con. Our CRRL-CON page currently features links to websites with free online comics, Star Wars-themed activities and recipes, and links to book lists on tabletop roleplaying titles in our collection. CRRL-CON 2023 gives our sci-fi and fantasy fans and creative community the chance to gather, make new friends, and have fun exploring these genres while in a familiar library setting.

(North) Carolina Cons

North Carolina has some cons that may be of interest to residents of our area. FantaSci, opens a new window is a literature-centered con that takes place on March 24-26, 2023, in Durham, North Carolina. It features panels on a variety of topics related to sci-fi and fantasy literature. The coming FantaSci has a fantasy focus with the theme “There Will Be Dragons.”

ConCarolinas, opens a new window is a sci-fi- and fantasy-themed con that takes place on June 2-4, 2023, in Charlotte, NC. It offers gaming, a costume contest, a film festival, and discussions on numerous sci-fi and fantasy topics, as well as a large dealer room.

Cons in the DC Area

AwesomeCon, opens a new window is a relatively large con designed to serve a wide variety of interests. 2023’s AwesomeCon will take place from June 16 to 18 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. It offers cosplay, a Science Fair that links current advances in technology to science fiction, celebrity signings, and a short film festival.

Capclave, opens a new window is a small con located in Rockville, Maryland, that focuses on short-form science fiction and fantasy literature. Sponsored by the Washington Science Fiction Association, the 2023 Capclave will take place from September 29 to October 1. This convention will primarily be of interest to authors and writers.

Explore the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy conventions across our area to see a universe of exciting discoveries. Most conventions are held annually, so if you can’t make it to one this year, connect with the con to be notified of next year’s schedule.